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Rooftop tiger stolen, then returned

Ben Godar

Sabie the tiger, which Burbank residents have grown accustomed to

seeing in strange costumes near the Magnolia Boulevard freeway

overpass, was stolen but quickly returned this week.

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The fiberglass tiger was taken from the roof of Bischoff’s

Taxidermy late Monday or early Tuesday, along with a blue fiberglass

bull recently added to the roof. Employees notified police, and

officers found the tiger Wednesday morning in an alley near the

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business, where the thieves had apparently returned it, authorities

said. Police have not found the bull, but are still investigating.

Sabie’s tail and teeth were broken off, and its body was cracked

down the middle, employee Rose Wooldridge said. The thieves

apparently pushed the sculpture, which weighs more than 100 pounds,

off the roof of the business at 54 E. Magnolia Blvd.

Owner Gary Robbins was shocked to find the sculptures missing

Tuesday morning, and said that in addition to being bolted to the

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roof, they were only accessible from a ladder.

“We always thought somebody might take the tiger as a joke, but to

take it off the roof would be no easy task,” he said.

The tiger, which was cast from a mold that no longer exists, is

valued at $4,200, Robbins said. The still-missing bull is worth

$5,500, he said.

Despite the damage, Wooldridge said residents will see Sabie on

display again, but it might be a while.

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“He’s pretty badly damaged,” she said. “We’re going to restore it,

but it will take money and time.”

The tradition of dressing up the tiger began four years ago when

Wooldridge put a Santa hat on it. People in the community began

making calls and sending letters complimenting the costume, and soon

employees were decorating the tiger for holidays, including St.

Patrick’s Day and Halloween.

While the tiger did draw attention to Bischoff’s, Wooldridge said

since most of their clients are from film and television studios, it

was put on the roof for fun.

“It was advertising, but we did it mainly just for the enjoyment

of Burbank residents,” she said.

The tiger’s name came from two Burbank girls who wrote a letter

complimenting “Sabie.”

The Burbank landmark is already being missed by some residents. As

early as Wednesday, Wooldridge said Bischoff’s was getting calls from

people wondering what happened to the tiger.

Anyone with information about the damaged tiger or missing bull

can call Burbank Crime Stoppers, an anonymous tip line, at 507-7867.


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