Missing New London lion statue found in baby stroller
New London — The cat came back.
A lion statue that went missing Wednesday is back home at its owner’s Broad Street home after it was found abandoned in a child’s stroller Saturday morning.
Bob Paolino noticed the statue, which weighs more than 200 pounds, was gone from his porch when he went out to water his flowers Wednesday morning. Another matching lion was still in its place on the other side of the brick porch.
The thieves left no evidence, except two marks in the flower bed that look as if they may have been made by a mobile crane or another piece of machinery used to move the heavy statue.
Paolino reported it missing to the police and local media, and by Saturday morning he heard a knock on his door. Pedro Feliciano, a fellow New London resident, told Paolino he had seen the lion on his morning jog, wrapped in plastic and sitting in a stroller on Crystal Avenue.
Feliciano heard about the missing lion on local television news, he told Paolino, recognized the statue and came to Paolino's house to tell him where it was.
“I drove down there, and sure enough, there it was,” Paolino said. The lion, slightly cracked but otherwise in good shape, was sitting in the stroller on the sidewalk outside a house on Crystal Avenue.
When Paolino realized he wouldn't be able to borrow a truck Saturday to get the lions back, Feliciano and a friend helped push the stroller about a mile back to Paolino’s house at 160 Broad St.
Paolino said he has had the lions for about 10 years, and had previously wondered whether he should cement them to the porch to prevent theft. He said two friends that helped him install the statues had to slide them on rails into their spots because they were too heavy to carry, and assumed they would be also too heavy to steal.
The stolen lion now sits in Paolino’s back yard, awaiting repairs before Paolino reunites it with its twin. Paolino said he told police that the lion was back, and plans to investigate how he might be able to affix the two lions to his porch.
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