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‘Gnomenapper’ takes Foxtrap woman’s garden ornament on two-week adventure

Foxtrap resident Lindsay Holloway with her returned gnome on Wednesday, and pictures of its travels left by culprits unknown. The gnome was stolen from her front lawn about two weeks ago, but was returned Tuesday evening along with photos.
Foxtrap resident Lindsay Holloway with her returned gnome on Wednesday, and pictures of its travels left by culprits unknown. The gnome was stolen from her front lawn about two weeks ago, but was returned Tuesday evening along with photos. - Glen Whiffen

Gnome sweet gnome taken from home

FOXTRAP, N.L. —

It’s home sweet home for a garden gnome after a two-week adventure that took him to Dildo, Signal Hill and even the Cotton Club. 

Foxtrap resident Lindsay Holloway said she had just moved to a new street with her boyfriend when the gnome vanished. 

“We had probably been living on the street for maybe two weeks and he was gone. I was like, oh, this is a welcome to the neighbourhood,” she laughed.

They live near a school and she guessed perhaps children took the ornament.

Named Chauncey McGuinness, the gnome was a gift from Holloway’s sister about four years ago to replace another gnome she had that was stolen.

Foxtrap resident Lindsay Holloway said her gnome was stolen from her front lawn about two weeks ago, but was returned unharmed Tuesday evening with a Ziploc bag filled with photos of the gnome galavanting around the Avalon Peninsula — to places such as Dildo, Signal Hill and even the Cotton Club.
Foxtrap resident Lindsay Holloway said her gnome was stolen from her front lawn about two weeks ago, but was returned unharmed Tuesday evening with a Ziploc bag filled with photos of the gnome galavanting around the Avalon Peninsula — to places such as Dildo, Signal Hill and even the Cotton Club.

Holloway said she was upset to have another gnome stolen, and searched all over for bits of broken ceramic or clues to where he might have gone.

“I was going off the handle. I was like, somebody stole him, this is not cool.”

Along with her boyfriend, they also felt nervous that someone was on their property while they weren’t home, so they installed a security camera.

But after about two weeks, he suddenly reappeared on Tuesday evening.

He was returned with about two dozen photographs inside a Ziplock bag, highlighting his travels around the Avalon Peninsula.

“My heart jumped out of my throat. When I seen him, I was like, ‘Oh, my God.’ I was coming up with grocery bags in my hand, and lo and behold, he’s right there. I was like, where did you go?

“I threw the groceries down, I was like, ‘I need to see these photographs.’ I can’t believe this happened. I can’t believe he’s not harmed, and someone took him out on an adventure.”

She laughed as she told of his two-week travels. 

The first photo in the pile showed Chauncey on her deck with a black sheet over his head as if he was being kidnapped.

Another picture shows him with a "Dildo loves Jimmy" sign in Dildo. 

There are photos of him swinging at a playground, sitting inside a cannon at Signal Hill, checking out an entertainer’s poster at the Cotton Club and posing with a milkshake at Tinkers Ice Cream Shop in Petty Harbour.

“He got the whole tourist-at-home package,” laughed Holloway. 

“This gnome had a more adventurous summer than most people.”

Holloway posted about the incident on Facebook, and thanked whoever gave her the “much-need laugh” and “some new mystery memories.” 

At press time, her post had almost 900 likes, over 200 shares and more than 100 comments.

One Facebook user said the same thing happened to his grandmother’s gnome, except hers turned up with a bagful of photos of the gnome in Cuba – posed to appear snorkelling and smoking cigars.

It’s a prank that dates back to at least the 1980s, known as the travelling gnome, or gnoming. 

“This gnome had a more adventurous summer than most people.” — Lindsay Holloway

In 2005, a well-publicized version of the prank occurred in the United States when a group of students took a woman’s gnome on a road trip, even photographing the gnome with Paris Hilton, and winding up in People magazine before the gnome was returned with a photo album titled "Gnome’s Spring Break 2005."

Meanwhile, Holloway said she checked her security camera, but couldn’t find any evidence of the gnome being returned, and she has no idea who did it.

“Maybe the gnomenapper is still out there,” she said.

“No one has come forward, and his lips are sealed with ceramic, so he’s not giving them up.”

She added Chauncey was returned in “pristine” condition and the prank was done with good intentions.

“It definitely seems to have brightened a lot of people’s day.”

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