Carroll County Times, carrollcountytimes.com
BYLINE: Carrie Ann Knauer, Times Staff Writer
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A strange surprise: About 20 stolen lawn ornaments were placed in Rebecca Hale's Westminster yard overnight Saturday. SUBMITTED PHOTO
Rebecca Hale wants her neighbors to know she didn't steal their lawn ornaments, even if they did end up in her yard Sunday morning.
Hale, who lives in the 200 block of Janice Way in Westminster, said she and her boyfriend Jonathan Chell left the house at 10 p.m. Saturday to go to a friend's house and play cards. When they returned home at 5 a.m. Sunday, she almost couldn't believe that she had pulled up to the right house.
"My driveway was lined with about 20 stolen lawn ornaments," the 36-year-old said. "I thought to myself ‘It looks like somebody is about to have a yard sale.'"
There was a black wooden dog on a bench on her front porch, and a metal swan blocking the door. At the bottom of her steps were a family of bunnies to the right, she said, and to the left some angels and garden gnomes. One of the more significant pieces was a small cow statue that she estimated weighed more than 100 pounds.
"It was crazy," she said. "I had a million thoughts going through my mind."
Thinking it was possible that the lawn display could have been a prank by a friend, she waited for someone to speak up and take credit for it. When no one came forward, she called the Westminster police at 3 p.m. to report the display, which she assumed was of stolen goods.
A police officer came to check it out Sunday, she said, and on Monday, they sent a city dump truck to collect the goods and take them to the police department.
Westminster police Lt. Douglas Johnston said it appears most of the lawn decorations were stolen from the surrounding neighborhood. Eight of the objects have already been reclaimed by the owners, who had reported them as stolen, he said.
Johnston said the items are all intact, and have been placed in the department's property room. Some people may not have noticed that they were stolen yet, he said, or may have noticed and not thought about reporting the theft.
Anyone in Westminster who had a lawn decoration stolen this weekend should contact the Westminster police at 410-848-4646 and ask for the property clerk, he said.
"We don't get this occurring that often," Johnston said. "More than likely, it was juveniles."
Hale said she took lots of photos of the lawn display with her cellphone, and said she won't soon forget the episode.
"It would be cool if everyone got their stuff back," she said.
Reach staff writer Carrie Ann Knauer at 410-857-7874 or email@example.com.
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