Fremont police say both stolen giant stuffed gorillas have now been returned.
The plush gorillas, “King Louie” and “Rainbow” were reported stolen Thursday night. The Fremont Police Department posted a picture of the large stuffed animals asking for the public’s help to find them. The post was shared thousands of times, people dropped off new stuffed animals and tips poured in.
King Louie was returned Saturday, and Rainbow was recovered on Monday. Rainbow was returned badly damaged and will be fixed by a Fort Wayne woman who’s well trained in sewing up stuffed animals.
“I have King Louis back, so that’s a great thing,” Paul said. “I’m glad someone is doing surgery on Rainbow. He’s going to be coming back. I’m so excited to see him.”
According to Fremont Police Chief Deputy Jordon Trippe, the gorillas are well known in the small community. They belong to Paul Didier, who has autism and sees them as family members.
In the spring, Paul places the gorillas outside his house so they can greet students at Fremont High School across the street and anyone driving by.
Police say the suspect involved in the theft is a 17-year-old boy from Michigan. According to police, the teen took both animals from Paul’s home, but left King Louie on the side of the road.
The teenager met with Paul and his family on Monday and apologized. He said His friends persuaded him to steal the gorillas as a prank. Paul and his family are not pressing charges.
“We became good friends,” Paul said. “I forgave him. He was kind of embarassed.”
The boy is going to work off his debt to Paul by donating time to their nonprofit organization, Promise Land Community, which mentors people who have special needs and their families.