Thieves return statue to Ronald McDonald House

Sarah McKenzie

Perpetrators made off with a statue of Ronald McDonald early Thursday morning and returned it later that night after local television media aired the missing-statue story.
The statue sits on a bench in the front yard of the Ronald McDonald House at 608 Ontario St. S.E., which provides lodging for families with terminally ill children. The statue has been a long-time favorite of children and their families who stay at the house.
The statue-snatchers returned Ronald with a note implicating a fraternity on campus, said Meg Katzman, executive director of the house.
But Katzman said it was obvious to her and other employees that the pranksters were probably from a rival fraternity, not the one mentioned in the note.
She discarded the note and could not recall the name of the fraternity that appeared on the piece of paper.
Katzman reported Ronald missing to authorities; police have no suspects in the statue’s abduction.
Howard Schofield, who has been living at the house with his wife and four children since April, and a staff member secured Ronald to the bench in front of the house.
“With big bolts we welded the two ends of the statue so no one can take off with it,” Schofield said.
Kyle Schofield, 7, said he was very glad to see Ronald back.
The statue is very popular for family photographs when children complete treatment at Fairview-University Medical Center, he said.
“It was the teenagers,” said Kyle and his two older brothers of who they thought committed the prank.
Courtney, Kyle’s sister, celebrated her 4th birthday the day before Ronald was stolen.
Kyle said his excited sister “climbed all over Ronald” when the statue reappeared Friday morning. The Schofields are scheduled to leave the house in early September and return to their home in Idaho in time for the start of school.
Ronald’s return is a relief for Katzman and other employees at the Ronald McDonald House, who leave for Africa on Saturday.
Katzman and her colleagues plan to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro with local television news anchor Don Shelby. WCCO will film a documentary of the 18-day trek, with proceeds going to the Ronald McDonald House.

In other police news:
ù University Police apprehended a 26-year-old man in the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood Monday night. The man has two outstanding felony warrants.
While on routine bike patrol through the West Bank, officers Erik Stenemann and Timothy Bohn spotted Terrell Smith drinking a beer outside the Viking Bar.
“When he saw us he tried to sneak around the corner of the bar, and then he took off running,” Bohn said.
Bohn tried to detain Smith on foot and Stenemann pursued him on his bike, he said.
He fell to the ground a couple of blocks from the bar, apparently exhausted from the chase, Bohn said.
The officers arrested Smith, whereupon he was sent to Ramsey County Jail. He was still in custody Tuesday.
Smith had outstanding warrants for felony auto theft, misdemeanor assault and felony possession of cocaine from Washington, Hennepin and Ramsey counties.
ù Minneapolis police arrested a 24-year-old man early Sunday morning in Southeast Minneapolis for allegedly threatening to assault another man with a gun.
The incident occurred near 25th Avenue Southeast and Talmage Avenue.
Police arrested Jason Folland after he allegedly fled from authorities in his car when they arrived at the address, according to the report.
Folland allegedly threatened Christopher Becker, 33, who lives on the 1000 block of 25th Avenue Southeast.
Police took Folland into custody and brought him to Hennepin County Jail, then released him.