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Dismembered Big Boy: Yes, Officer, That’s His Pompadour, All Right

March 20, 1995 GMT

TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) _ Who killed Big Boy?

Someone stole the 300-pound, 6-foot Big Boy statue from a restaurant Friday, dismembered the grinning fiberglass fellow with a hacksaw, scrawled ``Big Boy is dead″ on the pieces and dropped them off around town Sunday.

Between giggles, police are taking the theft seriously.

``This is a sad, sad day for the city when somebody would desecrate a hallowed symbol of the 1950s and 1960s,″ Sgt. Richard Murphy said Monday, his brow furrowed in concern.

Then he grinned.

``It’s really hard to keep a straight face when you talk about it,″ he said. ``We’ve been trying to put him together again like Humpty Dumpty. I think he looks pretty good for a guy who’s been cut up.″

The hamburger-toting statue with the black pompadour, red-and-white checkered pants and suspenders has guarded the doors of Big Boy restaurants around the world since the 1930s. The chain is owned by Warren, Mich.-based Elias Brothers Restaurants Inc., which operates 850 restaurants worldwide.

Murphy said Big Boy was chopped into seven pieces. His hamburger was intact, but his right ear and part of his belly were still missing.

A note was attached to all but one of the severed limbs with the message: ``Big Boy is Dead.″ A note attached to one limb said: ``Big Boy is almost dead. Nevermind. Now he’s dead.″

Each note was signed: ``Pimps of pimplyness.″

Taped to the severed right buttock was a newspaper ad that said: ``Strip Steak $2.29 a pound.″

``They had a sense of humor,″ Murphy said.

The statue was worth about $4,000.

Restaurant Manager David Nelson said his Big Boy, whose feet had been encased in cement to prevent thievery, was discovered missing Friday morning, parts of shiny black shoes left behind. The eatery, one of 10 Big Boys in the city, has been closed for remodeling.

Nelson found Big Boy’s severed head outside the restaurant Sunday morning.

``I couldn’t believe that someone would do that to him,″ Nelson said. ``He’s friendly, always smiling, ready to greet our customers. I mean, what kind of person would do this to him?″

It wasn’t long after Nelson reported the theft that police began fielding calls from other Big Boy restaurants where body parts were deposited.

``Nine times out of 10 if the Big Boy is missing, he’s usually down at the University of Toledo,″ Nelson said. ``During fraternity season, they do that as a prank.″

Each time, he had been returned no worse for wear.

The culprits could be charged with grand theft, punishable by up to two years in jail, Murphy said.

Customers at one Big Boy were abuzz about the theft.

``Hey,″ said truck driver Robert Keane, ``it was probably somebody who didn’t like the food.″