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.
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
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
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.
“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
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.