MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Out of all the sights to see at the Marjorie McNeely Conservatory at Como Park, it’s the one people suddenly can’t that has them staring.
“Looks like something’s broken off up there,” Jordan Antonelli said, as his eyes scanned the glass dome.
The golden sphere that sits atop the conservatory’s dome disappeared over the weekend.
“It’s one of those things you have to go out and take a look for yourself to make sure it’s actually true,” Matt Reinartz, spokesman for the Como Park Zoo and Conservatory, said.
According to Reinartz, an employee first noticed it was missing Sunday morning. That led him to check surveillance footage hoping to solve the mystery.
“And sure enough I found five (what appeared to be) youth, coming in, disappearing from view. Minutes later, they appear carrying the finial and running off,” he said.
After getting on the roof, footsteps in the snow appeared to show the thieves’ path towards a ladder attached to the dome that leading to the top.
“That’s risky business right there,” onlooker Ethan Glover said. “You’d fall and break your neck. That is just a bad idea all around.”
Reinartz said staff rarely venture to the top of the dome, and if they do, they follow several precautions.
“There’s cables, there’s clips, there’s ties, everything. For these folks to do that in the middle of the night, 2 a.m. on a Sunday night when it’s dark, it’s just a horrible dangerous idea,” he said.
The finial is slightly bigger than a beach ball with a spire attached to it. Reinartz wasn’t sure of its weight, but it didn’t look difficult to carry based on how the thief moved while holding it.
It’s a precarious prank people can’t believe.
“My friends would have been satisfied with trying to take one of the benches,” Antonelli said, of high school days.
“You got away with it. Now, it’s over. Let us have the finial back. They don’t need it,” said Reinartz.
Someone called police after spotting the finessed finial in a nearby parking lot, meaning the golden ornament will be home for the holiday. Police say that they recovered the ball after someone reported seeing it in a parking lot on the 1200 block of Lexington Parkway North.
“It finished (the dome). It belongs there and more so than it belonged to them, “said Rita Antonelli.