Flamingo preserve raided

Owner plans to restock plastic bird sanctuary near Auke Lake

Posted: Tuesday, July 18, 2000

It's going to take more than a thief to keep the pink out of Dave Ingram's yard.

Following the theft of 10 flamingos from his Glacier Highway yard -- sometime between Friday night and Saturday morning -- Ingram's decided to fight back. By tomorrow, he's going to have a new flock of the bright lawn ornaments back in place in his lawn across from Auke Lake.

``It's an act of defiance,'' he said. ``No punk, petty thief is going to keep me down.''

It wasn't the first time someone's stolen Ingram's flamingos, but it was the worst.

``I've had three stolen over the years, but never more than one at a time,'' Ingram said. ``They got all my old ones and four of my new ones.

``My heart kind of sank.''

The legs of four of the lawn ornaments were still stuck in his yard. Ingram said that makes him suspect the thief or thieves were in a hurry and were probably drunk.

``What I'd really like is if someone knows who took 'em would get in touch with me,'' Ingram said. ``I could give them a call. Especially if it's a kid. I'd really like to talk to him.''

There are birds in reserve -- lots of them. A flock of about 40 are in Ingram's possession. He had planned to set them up to celebrate the Fourth of July, but they didn't fly into Juneau in time.

Police Lt. Walt Boman said investigators have little to go on to solve the crime.

``We have no clues or leads at this point,'' he said.

There was a little evidence left by the flamingo-nappers, Ingram said. A Camel cigarette butt was at the scene of the crime. A surgical glove and a cardboard juice container were in a ditch nearby.

The value of the missing flamingos is about $65.

Ingram began arranging and rearranging flamingos in his yard for a bit of fun. A couple of years ago, a creative tenant took to arranging the birds with vigor, drawing compliments from passers-by and tour guides. Those who consider them a pleasant roadside distraction have sent notes, cards and gifts.

One flamingo, nicknamed ``Junior,'' was kidnapped in 1998. It was returned along with a scrapbook filled with pictures of the inanimate fowl, which apparently served as a mascot during someone's European vacation.

Junior -- a hand-carved, short flamingo -- was spared from being a victim or a witness to the theft of his flock-mates. He flew to Central America recently with a honeymooning couple who asked for his companionship.

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