Beatrice police are on the lookout for a stolen dinosaur-shaped bounce house.
The yellow, orange and green Brontosaurus bounce house was taken from Chautauqua Park in Beatrice sometime Saturday afternoon following the Gage County United Way Community Carnival.
The bounce house is owned by More Than Games LLC, a company based out of Crete. Following the carnival, between 4:30 and 5 p.m., an employee deflated the dinosaur-themed bounce house, rolled it up and left it in the park for another group of employees to retrieve later, said More Than Games owner Dan Papik.
The employees, who were setting up a rock wall at another location, arrived around 7 p.m. and discovered that the 15-foot-wide, 20-foot-tall dinosaur was missing, along with the blower pump that kept the bounce house inflated.
“It looks like the employee came to the park and couldn't find the bounce house or the fan,” said Beatrice Police Department Investigator Erin Byrne. “The extension cord was still there.”
Bounce house disappearances are pretty rare, Byrne said, and this is the first one he’d seen in his 20 years with the department. Papik was surprised as well, he said, because the bounce houses are large, even when they are deflated.
“I've never had one stolen before, so it's a little unusual,” Papik said. “When it's rolled up, it's 6-foot-tall and I can just wrap my arms around it, and I'm 6-foot-tall. It weighs about 200 pounds, so one guy can flip it into the back of a truck and slide it in.”
Officially known as a “Space Walk Dinosaur,” Papik said a replacement would cost his company about $3,500.
The police don’t have any leads at the moment, Byrne said, but asked that anyone with information on the inflatable dinosaur call the Beatrice Police Department.
“It was just laying there in the park for two and a half, three hours, basically unattended, and somebody helped themselves to it,” Byrne said.