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Sabie back in his place

Tim Willert

Sabie is back where he belongs, and not a moment too soon.

The fiberglass tiger, which residents had grown accustomed to

seeing dressed in seasonal costumes near the Magnolia Boulevard

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freeway overpass, is once again occupying its rightful spot on the

roof of Bischoff’s Taxidermy following a six-month hiatus.

Workers, with the help of a forklift provided free of charge by

Solar Unlimited, put the repaired feline back where he belonged

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Tuesday morning, complete with a new paint job and a back-to-school

outfit.

“The interest has been phenomenal. We were happily surprised,”

said Rose Wooldridge, Bischoff’s office manager, who said the store

received more than 200 phone calls, e-mails, letters and cards from

people longing for Sabie’s return.

The tiger was stolen from the roof in February along with a blue

fiberglass bull, but quickly returned after police found the mascot

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in an alley near the business at 54 E. Magnolia Blvd.

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

down the middle, employees said. Thieves apparently pushed the

sculpture, which weighs more than 100 pounds, off the roof of the

business.

A 6-year-old girl was among those who mailed sympathy cards to the

store. The girl included $12 to “fix Sabie’s teeth,” Wooldridge said.

The tiger has been known to carry a surfboard during the summer

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and wear a sun hat for Mother’s Day.

The tradition to dress up the tiger began four years ago when

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

calling and writing the store to compliment the costumes, and soon

employees began decorating the tiger for holidays, including

Halloween and St. Patrick’s Day.

Tuesday, in keeping with the store’s back-to-school tradition,

Sabie was outfitted with a backpack with a ruler sticking out of it,

a sack lunch and a pencil behind his ear for Thursday’s first day of

school.

“He’s graduated to middle school, so he got a new backpack,”

Wooldridge said.

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

valued at $4,200, owner Gary Robbins said. The bull, valued at

$5,500, has not been recovered.

Wooldridge said added precautions have been taken to ensure Sabie

isn’t removed from the roof. She declined to elaborate.


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