Ronald’s return: McDonald’s worker turns in missing statue

Last modified: 1/15/2016 8:36:32 AM
NORTHAMPTON — The super-sized mystery regarding the whereabouts of a rare Ronald McDonald statue that was taken from a Leverett home in August was solved Wednesday when a Hatfield family turned it in to Northampton Police.

Detective Sgt. Victor Caputo said a McDonald’s employee and his family brought the statue to the police station because they read in the Daily Hampshire Gazette that a Northampton family was seeking the return of their beloved “crouching Ronald.”

“We were so shocked,” said Mary Ryan of Northampton, who owns the statue with her husband, sculptor Thomas Friedman. “We figured Ronald was gone forever.”

Ryan had reported to police that the 3-foot-tall statue was taken from their summer home in Leverett on the weekend of Aug. 8, when her teenage daughter had an unauthorized party there.

The two young men who took the statue later confessed to Ryan that they left it in a tree in front of the Northampton Athletic Club at 306 King St., she told the Gazette.

Through her own detective work, Ryan learned that a gym staff member had placed the statue by the gym’s dumpster. After that, the statue disappeared.

Caputo said Wednesday that the Hatfield man who took the statue from that spot is an employee of a McDonald’s restaurant. That man overheard in McDonald’s a co-worker telling a gym staff member that the statue had not come from the restaurant where they work. He was told the club was “just going to throw it away,” Caputo said, so the man took it home to Hatfield.

Ryan had put up fliers seeking the return of the statue, and the Gazette published an article Saturday about her search.

Ryan and Friedman bought the statue, which they think was created in 1972, from an antique store many years ago for $1,200.

The Hatfield family saw the Gazette article and decided to return the statue, Caputo said. He declined to name the family.

Caputo said that as soon as Ryan or Friedman identifies the statue and the Northwestern district attorney’s office OKs its release, Ronald McDonald will be able to go home.

First Assistant Northwestern District Attorney Steven E. Gagne said Wednesday afternoon that he was pleased to hear the statue was returned. “Everyone loves Ronald,” he said.

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