A three-and-a-half-foot tall, 120-pound statue of “Dennis the Menace” was recovered from a canal in Monterey County, California, local officials announced Wednesday.
The statue had been missing from the Dennis the Menace Playground in the city of Monterey’s El Estero Park since it was stolen in mid-August 2022.
An anonymous tipster informed the Monterey Police Department of its location in a canal near a lake in Seaside, California, two miles away from the park, according to the southern California newspaper The Press-Enterprise.
The statue was indeed where the tipster described, submerged fully in the canal’s four feet of water. Authorities were able to confirm the statue was the one that had been stolen due to damage at the foot, where the statue was initially sawed off its pedestal in the park.
Officials with the Monterey County Sheriff’s Office have not yet gleaned how the informant knew where it had been hidden. They also noted that, if the culprits are caught, they would face a grand theft felony charge.
“The reason it’s such a happy day is because we have found Dennis the Menace,” Monterey County Sheriff Tina Nieto said at a press conference.
“Dennis the Menace” was created by longtime county resident Hank Ketcham, and the first Dennis statue in Monterey was erected in 1988. That statue was itself stolen in October 2006, and has never been recovered, being replaced with a cast of the original in 2007, according to KSBW-TV, a Monterey NBC affiliate.
In 2015, Monterey officials received word that a Dennis statue had been found in a Florida scrapyard, but upon that statue’s return to California, they discovered it was not the original due to discrepancies in the neck of both pieces.
In 2016, the Orlando children’s hospital that had owned the scrapyard statue granted permission for Monterey to keep it, and that piece now stands outside the Monterey Department of Recreation.
• Brad Matthews can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.