"Whoever stole Ronald McDonald didn't just steal from us, they stole from thousands of parents who want to share their memories growing up with their kids," franchise co-owner Diane Koury told NJ.com. "They grew up with Ronald McDonald." The statue was plucked from its outdoor home sometime late Wednesday night, and the perpetrator of the theft remains unknown.
The garishly-colored statue of the fast food chain's iconic mascot — which weighs more than 250 pounds — has sat in the same spot, grinning widely and ready to receive visitors on the bench with open arms, for more than two decades, Koury said. The company that used to create the statues has long since stopped producing them, making this one a true limited edition classic. The franchise was undergoing renovations last week and has been closed; in the confusion, it appears that someone sneakily made off with the local heirloom, despite its unwieldy size and weight. The Kourys bought it back in the 1990s for about $7,000, they said, and are offering a $500 reward for information regarding its recovery.
Ronald, who first appeared for McDonald's in 1963. In 2014, he got a makeover. The missing Ronald statue currently in limbo in this case still rocks the old-school jumpsuit, however.