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Stolen inflatable ape found in Simi Valley

An inflatable gorilla stolen from a car dealership was found on Friday in Simi Valley.

September 17, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
Police are searching for the thieves who took off with an inflatable ape and hoisted it atop a Simi Valley school. "Mr. Pickles," the inflatable gorilla stolen from a Kia car dealership, was put back where he belongs on Friday.

The employees of First Kia believe that at least four thieves had to have been involved in order to move the 400-pound inflatable ape from his post on Tuesday.

It was an unforgettable way to start school for students at Royal High School. They arrived to find Mr. Pickles perched on top of their multi-purpose room.

"I had a ton of tests, so I was over-stressed this morning. But seeing this totally made me laugh and took all that stress off. I just feel so much better now because there is a giant monkey on top of our roof," said student Katlin Simons.

The consensus on campus is that it was a senior prank, and some said it was probably the best one in years.

"Whoever did this, give him a pat on the back because that was pretty funny," said one student.

But it's an alleged senior prank that now involves Simi Valley police.

"We have been going ape over this for the past few days, but now that the crime has been solved, we're much happier," said Lt. Joseph May.

It's still a whodunit situation. Whoever moved Mr. Pickles could be charged with a felony. He's a $4,000 fixture in the community, and stealing him is grand theft.

"This was property that belonged to somebody, and our resources were used to go out and conduct the initial investigation. And obviously our resources are being used here today," said May.

Johnny Kia, the general sales manager, was thrilled to have Mr. Pickles back on his rightful rooftop, and doesn't want to press charges.

"He's safe; he's back where he should be. This is his home, and I think we're just going to leave it at that," said Kia.

As for the thieves, their stealth handling of Mr. Pickles earned praise from Kia.

"They did a good job. They did a good job getting him down and getting him up on another building here in Simi Valley. So amazing?just amazing," said Kia.

Even though First Kia doesn't plan to press charges, the state could still move forward with this case, because grand theft is a felony. But first, Simi Valley police will have to make an arrest.

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