7-foot-tall Elvis statue stolen from roof of Rosedale diner

Fiberglass figure had graced Happy Day Diner for almost a decade

July 06, 2010|By Julie Bykowicz and Liz F. Kay, The Baltimore Sun

Elvis has left the building.

More specifically, a 7-foot-tall statue of the king appears to have been stolen from atop the Happy Day Diner in Rosedale, where he'd stood for nearly a decade.

Customers alerted owners Maria and Dimitrios Pigiaditis to the missing statue Sunday morning, and they filed a report with Baltimore County police. Elvis was bolted to the roof, and the thieves apparently broke him off, leaving behind part of his feet.

The couple reviewed surveillance tapes, which they have turned over to police, and saw a white van pull up overnight Wednesday, when they think the theft occurred.

Detectives at the White Marsh precinct have few leads, police spokesman Cpl. Mike Hill said Tuesday. Investigators will check with surrounding businesses to see if anyone else captured images of the theft on surveillance cameras, he added.

The statue is light enough for someone to carry, according to Hill.

"Usually we don't have people actually climbing on rooftops to take things," he said, unless the thieves are after copper from an air conditioning or HVAC unit.

The diner's previous owner purchased the fiberglass statue for $1,500 in 2001 at an antique shop on Harford Road, Maria Pigiaditis said. Since then, the statue has only been down once, a few years ago for a "facelift" after taking a tumble during a storm.

The Pigiaditis family is also keeping an eye on eBay for signs of Elvis. Life-size statues of the rock 'n roll pioneer cost between $700 and $1,000 via online retailers, although versions could be had through eBay for about $600. Because it is fiberglass, "it's got no value as far as recycling it," Maria Pigiaditis said.

The statue served as a landmark for travelers headed down Route 40, as well as nearby residents and employees.

"It's an icon," Maria Pigiaditis said. "That's how they know us, by Elvis being on top."

But the family is also considering offers for something to replace the king, she said.

The thieves caused about $500 worth of damage to the roof itself, Hill said. If apprehended, they could face charges of grand theft, a felony, as well as fourth-degree burglary and destruction of property, both misdemeanors.

A recent theft in Baltimore may offer a clue to the type of punishment the Elvis statue thieves may face. Last year, four men pleaded guilty to stealing the aluminum No. 8 sculpture that honored Cal Ripken Jr. in front of Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Three of the four, who ranged in age from 18 to 20, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit theft of over $500 and were sentenced to two years of unsupervised probation and community service. A fourth, a 19-year-old, pleaded guilty to theft in District Court and received the same sentence.

The four also paid the Orioles $7,618 for the repairs.

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