Pilfered primate found hundreds of miles away

September 10, 2008 4:42:25 AM PDT
An 8-foot-tall mechanical gorilla that was swiped in broad daylight from its longtime location outside a store has turned up several hundred miles away - with an apologetic ransom demand.

The arm-waving primate disappeared during the Labor Day weekend and store owner Lowell Miller and his wife, Sandy, marveled at how such a big ape on a heavy base could have been taken without attracting attention.

The gorilla's creator, Ken Booth of the Gorilla Robot Factory in Akron, Ohio, helped out by posting a YouTube video seeking the gorilla's return and offering a reward.

Then another video turned up on YouTube, showing a hooded person demanding a $1 million ransom - apologizing for causing a flap. "I didn't know it'd be such a big deal," the hooded abductor said.

Now the gorilla - named "Seemore," as in "See More at Sandy's Sales" - has turned up in a cornfield at Swanton, Vt.

Sandy Miller intends to press charges.

"What really upset me was the YouTube video. He was so nonchalant," she said Tuesday. "You don't steal other people's property and take it out of state."

She said her husband's old truck is in no shape to make the 750-mile roundtrip to St. Albans, Vt., where the gorilla is being held by state police. But she said offers were pouring in from people willing to assist.