MONTEREY (CBS SF) — A replica bronze statue of Dennis the Menace that was initially thought to be the original stolen in 2006 from a Monterey playground found a home this week.
Last week, crews stood up the 3-foot 6-inch, 200-pound, statue outside the Monterey Recreation Administrative Offices at 546 Dutra St., just around the corner from the city attorney’s office where Hank Ketcham, Dennis’ creator, once penned the cartoon.
The original Dennis was installed in 1988 in the city’s Dennis the Menace Playground on Pearl Street after Ketcham commissioned Academy Award winning artist Wah Ming Chang to sculpt what is considered to be a life-sized statue of the cartoon character.
Ketcham lived in Pebble Beach, but worked in Monterey. He died in 2001.
City officials are not actively looking for the original, but if it was found that would be great, Community Services Director Kim Bui-Burton said.
A $5,000 reward for it still stands, Bui-Burton said.
Either way, the replica installed this week is already getting a lot of attention.
“It’s already a big draw for local children,” Bui-Burton said.
Children from a nearby camp have hiked over to hug Dennis and rub his foot or the teddy bear he’s holding, she said.
The newly installed Dennis was turned over to Monterey police in October.
It came from Orlando where in August a scrap yard owner’s daughter-in-law learned through an online search that a Dennis the Menace statue was missing from Monterey.
Bui-Burton said the Orlando statue is one of five replicas cast from the original and may have stood in an Orlando hospital.
The original, which is valued at $25,000 to $30,000, was taken October 25, 2006.
Weeks after the theft, crews installed a replica in its place.
Another replica stands at Ketcham’s home and another at the Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula. Artists at the Monterey Sculpture Center, where the original was cast for less than $1,000, restored the scrap-yard Dennis before crews stood him up outside the recreation center.
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