Bucky Badger and the Funniest and Most Bizarre Mascot Thefts Ever
Bucky Badger, one of the most storied and beloved mascots in the history of college football had his head stolen during a party at the house of the student who portrayed him this week.
Bucky's theft reminds us of numerous other mascots who have had appendages stolen, either for fun, or for reasons that remain unknown. And it is because of Bucky that we bring you the 10 craziest, wackiest, or weirdest stolen mascots of all time.
10. Fergus Fox
Scottish football club Falkirk FC ran into serious trouble late in 2009, when the head of "beloved" mascot Fergus Fox was pilfered from the club's grounds after a match. Local police eventually found the head, but not before minor damage was accrued in the nose.
9. Butler Blue
Butler University in Indianapolis made waves when they made the NCAA title game last year against Duke. But the Bulldogs haven't had a perfect 2010, and in August, the school's mascot costume, named Butler Blue, was swiped from historic Hinkle Fieldhouse.
Police eventually apprehended the dognappers, but there was too much damage for the costume to be salvaged, and a new one was ordered.
8. High School Hijinks
This was a case of accidental catnapping. The Wildcat costume was in the car of a Meridian (Miss.) High School student when the car was stolen.
Police eventually recovered both the car and the kitty, but the thief claimed he had no idea the cat was in the car when he stole it.
7. The Miami Dolphin
Tragedy struck the 1994 Miami Dolphins, when the team's mascot, a live dolphin, was stolen from it's tank in their stadium.
Fortunately, a dilligent pet detective named Ace Ventura tracked the aquatic mammal to the clutches of former kicker Ray Finkle. The creature was returned to the team unscathed.
6. Bill The Goat
Bill became Navy's official mascot in 1903, and ever since, the boys at West Point have made it a point to try and steal the lovable goat. His thefts have required presidential intervention (in 1953, Navy man Dwight Eisenhower ordered Bill returned), and have featured awesome mission names (in 2007, the kidnapping was codenamed operation: Good Shepherd). Can you say awesome?
5. Tim The Beaver
It's not every day a mascot is stolen by it's own school's students. But that's exactly what happened to MIT's Tim the Beaver.
Tim was "Kidnapped" by a group of students unhappy that the tech school's athletic budget was going to get cut. Eventually, Tim was returned, but the budget was still cut.
4. Bucky Badger
You already know the story of Bucky, so I'll spare you the details. Suffice it to say, I love that he was stolen during a kegger. I feel like the thief walked out wearing it, with no one noticing.
In the mid 1970's the Buckeye head of Brutus, Ohio state's terrifying mascot, was stolen.
Where did it turn up? At that year's Michigan-OSU clash. A Wolverine student came tearing out of the stands wearing the now blue buckeye, but was quickly rendered immoblie by Ohio State security. Needless to say, a new head was purchased.
2. The Phillie Phanatic
The Phanatic is one of the oldest and greatest mascots in professional sports. So, needless to say, when his head was stolen from a charity auction, people weren't too pleased.
A Philly radio station asked the thief to return the head, and the man did. While the radio station didn't ask any questions, the Philadelphia Police Department did, arresting him for larceny.
1. The Phoenix Five
Let's set the scene: five Cal Berkley students crashed Stanford's preseason basketball party "Cardinal Chaos". Afterward, they see the tree costume being loaded into a car, and a devious plot forms in their minds.
They follow the tree to Stanford's Band Shak, where another, much more inebriated party was going on. After the party concluded, the quintet snuck in and poached the pine, taking it back to Berkley.
Needless to say, Cardinal students were less than thrilled, and the Stanford PD immediately began looking for leads on Berkley's campus. Several ransom notes were delivered to Stanford in the form of letters written to Cal's newspaper, The Daily Californian, written by the students under the pseudonym "The Phoenix Five". There was plenty of trash talk going on in them, and Cal's dean of students ordered the tree be returned.
Eventually, the tree was, in fact, given back, only to be burned by Stanford students who saw it as "Contaminated". A new tree was revealed during The Big Game of that year.
This was the best of all the thefts chronicled in this article, because of the rivalry and the fact that the costume was burned upon it's return.