DOWNERS GROVE – Wilbur the toy horse currently lives in the Downers Grove Police Department evidence room with its companion, a plastic doll, and about 25 stolen or missing bikes.
Police found the plush-covered mechanical toy horse, later named Wilbur, and the doll in the Washington Park fountain on July 31, Downers Grove Police Public Education Manager Marion Heintz said. The items were probably snatched from a resident’s yard, like many bikes, and then discarded later.
“An officer was driving by and noticed something that looked weird in the water,” she said. “He went and investigated and found this doll was with it as well.”
Police are reminding residents this week that if they have missing or stolen property, especially bicycles, call the department and see if it’s residing in the evidence room.
The horse is probably the weirdest thing found by police lately, Heintz said.
“We have a lot of different things that come in,” she said. “We have a lot of different holiday ornaments and holiday decorations, sometimes religious statues and different things like that. But the most common item that we get is the bikes.”
She said many stolen bikes are never reported missing by owners, so they end up at the police station, unclaimed.
“When a kid steals a bike, they ride it around a neighborhood and they discard it in the bushes somewhere,” Heintz said. “We have some really nice ones right now. We know they were stolen, there’s no way to get them back to the owners because they’re not registered.”
If a person believes their stolen bike might be at the police station, they should provide a description and when it went missing, and police can determine if they are indeed the owner.
The department holds onto unclaimed property for six months, and then hands it off to an online auction company, propertyroom.com.
Summer is the typical bike-stealing season, and she said this year it has been about on par with the norm. Though, sometimes she said the storage room can have as many as 50 bikes awaiting owners.
“Our goal is to always get them back to the owner,” Heintz said.