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BEST VANDALISM Minneapolis 2001 -

It was like something out of a true-crime thriller: A head found beneath a blanket in a St. Paul back yard; a reward for information; a police force helpless to stem the carnage; a tireless journalist on the trail of the culprit. The victim: One of the 101 Snoopy sculptures plopped around St. Paul to honor Peanuts creator Charles Schulz (in memoriam, as it turned out). Now, we're all for civic pride, but we're even more in favor of a good caper. And this one had the makings of an epic, as speculation abounded that the missing head would end up in Mayor Norm Coleman's bed, à la The Godfather. Before the decapitation of Stargazer Snoopy, unimaginative vandals had confined themselves to merely kicking the legs and ears off the beloved beagles. Our enterprising Visigoth went further, however, provoking in the process a $500 reward from St. Paul boosters and a crusade by North End News editor Jane McClure, whose appeals for the head's return included an offer of amnesty for the doggie decapitator. Alas, months later, Stargazer Snoopy's executioner remains at large. Perhaps St. Paul's new Peanuts-related promotion--statues of the famously blockheaded Charlie Brown--will tempt the vandal out of hiding.

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