Cow stolen from Palatine yard

Updated 7/3/2011 1:22 AM
  • This cow, a wedding gift to Emily and Bruce Duncan of Palatine, is missing.

    This cow, a wedding gift to Emily and Bruce Duncan of Palatine, is missing. courtesy of Kathy Tootelian

A bridal bovine bandit is on the loose in Palatine, and her owners are udderly furious.

Emily and Bruce Duncan were on vacation Friday when a neighbor called to break the news that the fiberglass cow they received as a wedding gift from her parents had been swiped the previous night.

The life-size cream-and-silver-painted Bessie, bred back in 1999 for the "Cows on Parade" art exhibit in Chicago, spends most of its time inside or in the backyard. But it had been on display in the front lawn since last Sunday when their home on the 800 block of West Dorset was featured in the Palatine Historical Society's garden walk.

"We're close to a school, and we've caught a lot of kids trying to tip it at night, but never this," Emily Duncan said. "It's upsetting because its sentimental value is huge."

The night before the heist, which has been reported to Palatine police, Duncan said she saw a "suspicious" burgundy minivan idling in front of their home that sped off when she stepped outside. But that could have been a coincidence because it's not uncommon for passers-by to stop and check out the cow, she said.

Parents Kathy and George Tootelian, also of Palatine, purchased the unadorned cow from exhibit organizer Peter Hanig of shoe fame because Emily wanted the historic art piece at her wedding. Family friend Billy Pedersen painted it, paying special detail to the eyes, hoofs, horns and udder.

"We've always joked it was my dowry," Duncan said.

Kathy Tootelian said she hopes the modern-day cow rustler will grow a conscience and bring it back, perhaps with a note apologizing. She said it's long been a centerpiece for family photos and parties.

"I know there are bigger, more important things going on in the world, but this means a lot to our family," she said. "It's not like the person is going to be able to easily hide or re-gift it, so just return it, no questions asked."