The Edmond Sun

August 23, 2011

Edmond cops investigate a bear of a mystery

Mark Schlachtenhaufen
The Edmond Sun

EDMOND — Edmond detectives have a bear of a mystery on their hands. Someone has stolen a panda from a local church. That’s right, a panda.

OK, it’s not a real panda. It’s an inflatable version.

On Tuesday, the Edmond Police Department released a report stating that a 25-foot inflatable panda that had been perched atop the LifeChurch building, near the Interstate 35-Second Street exit, had been stolen.

Darrell Duer, president of Oklahoma City’s Duer Balloons and Promotions, told The Edmond Sun that at the end of the period the inflatable was used the church turned off the blower.

The next day, July 31, a company representative went to pick it up and nothing was there, Duer said.

“It appears we have a missing animal case,” he said.

In addition to the inflatable panda, the blower ropes also were missing, Duer said. The items are worth $2,500-$3,000. A reward is being offered by Duer Balloons and Promotions for information leading to the return of the inflatable panda.

Duer said his company was tardy in reporting the loss to police.

He said he has been in the inflatable business in Oklahoma since 1984 and he recalls only one other like incident. In Tulsa, an inflatable Uncle Sam was stolen by several students as sort of a prank, he said. Once they got it in their dorm room, they didn’t know what to do with it.

Tips on the missing panda, may be made to the Edmond Police Department at 359-4420. | 341-2121, ext. 108