March 5, 2009

Two charged with gorilla head theft

Two Minneapolis men have been arrested and charged with theft after they allegedly stole the head off of a Wisconsin store's mechanical gorilla.

Jesse Varga, 24, and John Jenness Jr., 28, are scheduled to appear March 10 for the misdemeanor charge in Wisconsin's Outagamie County Court after police said they took the head off of a mechanical gorilla that had been displayed for 15 years outside of Balloon Magic in Appleton, Wis., the Appleton Post-Crescent reported Thursday.

They allegedly tore the head off the gorilla, causing $1,500 in damage to the item, on Thanksgiving Day and had the head mounted in a position of prominence in their apartment, police said. Minneapolis police said they discovered the head in the apartment after an anonymous tip to Appleton authorities.

Varga and Jenness could each face up to 9 months imprisonment and a $10,000 fine.