No one knows for sure why dinosaurs died out millions of years ago. The disappearance of a herd of dinosaurs in front of an Ijamsville playground equipment manufacturer last week might be a little easier to explain.
Nine of the molded plastic creatures were sitting on Md. 355 in front of Eagle Play Structures. President and CEO of Sport Systems LLC Tilford Jones, who co-owns the company with Sarah Rodowsky, said he decided the colorful dinosaurs would be a humorous way to attract attention.
"We had them grazing in our front field out there, and we kept moving them around so it was like a herd of dinosaurs," Jones said. "We basically put them out there to amuse the people in the neighborhood."
The herd attracted the attention of the wrong people, and after a few weeks of grazing on the property, they disappeared April 24.
"We don't know if it was one stolen at a time or if it was a massive dinosaur heist," Jones said. "We'd like to have them back. We're thinking these are either going to be in someone's backyard or used as a prank kind of situation. It's hard to tell, but they certainly lend themselves to pranks."
Someone from the business park saw a man in a white Chevrolet Suburban steal one of the dinosaurs, but couldn't get a license plate number, Jones said. It's unclear whether the same person came back for more or if different thieves took the rest. Jones said he has checked eBay and Craigslist for someone selling the dinosaurs but hasn't had any luck. The dinosaurs -- which retail for $550 each and are designed to be placed on playgrounds -- are purple, blue and red. Each is about 5 feet long and 3 feet high.
Jones was about to replace the dinosaurs with some hippos and crocodiles before they were stolen, he said.
"Come the big dinosaur heist -- and I think it's the biggest dinosaur heist the county has ever known -- we decided that we wouldn't put any more out," he said.
Jones is not the only one keeping a sense of humor about the theft. The Frederick County Sheriff's Office deputy called out to investigate was also amused, Jones said.
"I must say the guy was pretty tongue-in-cheek," Jones said. "He had a hard time keeping a straight face."
Sheriff's Detective Cpl. Gregg Warner said Friday he has reviewed the case and is not aware of any leads so far.
"We're looking for whatever assistance we can get," Warner said.
Anyone with information about the missing dinosaurs is asked to call Deputy First Class Dave Keefer at 301-600-6493.
Follow Brian Englar on Twitter @brianenglar. ___