Missing elephant causes grief for Texas couple

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by JANET ST. JAMES

WFAA

Posted on March 2, 2012 at 9:16 AM

Updated Friday, Mar 2 at 9:29 AM

GARLAND - "It was sitting just right in this area, right here," said Gene Darnell, pointing down to a vacant mound of mulch. "It was well-anchored in."

That's where Gene and his wife, Beverly Darnell, last saw their beloved elephant, Babar, chained safely to the foundation of their modest Garland home on West Avenue F.

Before, as the "missing" sign posted on their yard tree says, "he wandered off."

"And my husband's been checking the neighbors," Beverly said, "checking to see if they smell like peanuts."

Beverly has to have a sense of humor about the situation because, Babar isn't real. He's a 400-pound bronze sculpture.

A gift of love from a wife to a husband, who'd admired a statue like it in a fancy neighborhood.

"And I thought, 'Okay, the man doesn't ask for much,'" Beverly said. "So I bought him an elephant. And now somebody else has it."

Someone stole Babar last Friday, in a daring daylight heist between 10:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.

"There were no tire tracks," Beverly said. "There were no dolly tracks. So they had to have picked it up and carried it."

The Darnells are hoping someone saw the thief - a thief who may now have a back injury.

Or perhaps someone bought Babar, not knowing he was stolen, and loved.

"It kind of cuts into you because it was very personal to me, and very personal to her," Gene said. "And then someone steals it."

"I'd like my elephant back," Beverly said through tears. "If you'll bring it back, that'll be the end of it."

The Darnell's are offering a $500 reward for a pachyderm they say is priceless.

E-mail jstjames@wfaa.com

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