The kidnapping was actually a theft of two artistic creations made by Wilson. He has long been a Youngstown State University fan and tailgater and several years ago he designed and cut the panels to make a Pete and Penny figures. The originals were permanently affixed to wooden posts that were anchored in the ground.
For December, Wilson added a string of small penguin lights that made the display appear like Pete and Penny had become proud parents. On Wednesday, Dec. 7, someone came by the home overnight and cut the post off of Penny, then returned on Saturday night and did the same with Pete.
Whatever was used to cut the bases left no sign of sawdust. Wilson said whoever did it must have been local and knew the schedule of the spotlight that automatically turned off after 11 p.m. He did file a police report on both incidents.
“I would love to meet the person who took them,” Wilson said. “If they wanted them for the design, I would have gladly shared it with them.”
Both cutouts stand about three feet high, but it is the Penny one that is special to Wilson.
“My wife made the pattern to show Penny wearing a babushka,” Wilson said.
When he first came out with the penguin pair, other diehard YSU fans that Wilson tailgated with were asking him to make them one.
“I have six sets I am working on right now,” he said.
The new ones he made have a fold-out back to make them stand upright, but they are not the originals that started the whole thing. He said if they are anywhere around Austintown, they will show up someday. He has only made the copies for his tailgating friends and they will be watching for him as well.
In the meantime, copies made from the original pattern are gracing the front lawn and watching over the little penguins.
Photos by J.T. Whitehouse, Town Crier
Forest Hill drive resident Harold Wilson points to the spot where Pete and Penny, the YSU mascots, were once a permanent part of the landscaping. Both were stolen over the past week in two separate incidents.