MONTEREY – After months of mystery, local authorities have recovered Monterey’s favorite rabble-rouser, Dennis the Menace. Stolen from its namesake playground at El Estero Park last August, the bronze statue was found Wednesday by the Monterey County Sheriff’s Dive Team.
Mischievous as ever – and still dripping by Wednesday afternoon – Dennis was located in Roberts Lake in Seaside, about two miles from his rightful Monterey perch.
“Today is a happy day,” Monterey County Sheriff Tina Nieto said at a press conference announcing Dennis’ homecoming. “It’s a happy day. …And it’s such a happy day because we have found Dennis the Menace.”
Joined by Monterey’s Assistant Chief of Police Mike Bruno, as well as members of the dive team that helped rescue Dennis, Nieto said authorities went searching for the statue in Roberts Lake after the Monterey Police Department received an anonymous tip about its location. Monterey police then informed the Sheriff’s Office, and a recovery effort ensued.
A life-size bronze rendering of Hank Ketcham’s cartoon creation, the statue was stolen last year on Aug. 20. More than five months later, the three-and-a-half-foot-tall character was dredged up from Roberts Lake, where it sat completely submerged in water four feet deep.
Authorities have yet to determine those responsible for Dennis’ disappearance. (Most recent, that is – this isn’t the statue’s first time vanishing).
If culprits are caught, they could be subject to a grand theft felony charge.
Look out, Mr. Wilson.