A brazen bunny burglary turned out to have a happy ending after all.
The 600-pound Silly Pink Bunny sculpture that has adorned the corner of Haight and Laguna streets at the old UC Berkeley Extension campus for several years was stolen Sunday but tracked down Tuesday by the artist.
While the campus site is scheduled for demolition starting next week, artist Jeremy Fish said the contractors and developers building new housing there asked him to erect a permanent 10-foot-tall bronze version of the statue as a gateway to the Lower Haight.
But just as Fish was planning to throw a “funeral” for the existing rabbit, it disappeared.
The brazen theft occurred about 4 p.m. Sunday, Fish said. Before that, Fish had been approached about the permanent statue and so he began planning a commemoration ceremony for the old one.
When word spread about that event, a friend informed Fish that someone had unbolted the bunny from its pedestal and put it on the ground. And several days later, it was gone.
The developer of the site had told Fish they would take responsibility for the sculpture and guaranteed it wouldn't be stolen. However, Fish said, while a security guard on site was on a break, the bunny disappeared.
“I was furious at that point,” Fish said.
An employee at the site said a police report was filed and an investigation was underway, but Fish used his own contacts to perform his own probe.
“I was hitting up all my channels in The City,” he said, “guys who know sketchy guys.” Someone found a picture on Instagram from a guy who posted a video of people trying to take the bunny apart. From the video, Fish said, he was able to figure out who was involved in the theft and where they were located.
After talking to the suspect, Fish said he believed the man was just trying to save something that he loved from being destroyed.
“His intention wasn't to screw me over,” Fish said. “He just reacted to the situation. That's why we're calling him a 'liberator.'”
Fish said he's asked the developers not to pursue criminal charges.
For the time being, the Silly Pink Bunny will be on display at a bar in the Tenderloin, Emperor Norton's Boozeland, and will be delivered back to its old location Sept. 13 by its supposed liberator for the commemoration ceremony, Fish said. The public is welcome to attend.