With the winter weather approaching, even Ben has migrated south. But Ben and his bench are a little bent out of shape about the relocation. On the morning of September 16, officials discovered that the statue of Ben Franklin sitting on a bench, donated three years ago by the Class of 1962, had been uprooted by unknown culprits from his home at 37th Street and Locust Walk and moved 10 feet south. Although Ben himself escaped serious harm, his bench is suffering from a severely indented and fractured leg. Officials reported the incident to University Police but do not have any motive or leads. In an on-site investigation, outside experts determined that the perpetrator or perpetrators first broadsided the bronze bench with a vehicle, breaking the bolts securing the statue. The kidnappers then spirited the hapless Ben -- which officials said weighs about 500 pounds -- to his new spot. Many students assumed that the relocation was a practical joke by revelers at the previous night's Quarter Millennium Celebratory Jam. But for many others, it is no laughing matter. "I can't imagine that anyone's happy about this," she said. "If it were a practical joke, the consequences are rather unpleasant . . . People don't realize the implications of a joke of that sort." Jacovini stressed, however, that it is "pure conjecture" as to whether the relocation was a practical joke, accident or something else. "On occasion, a paper hat has been left on Ben Franklin, or there's unintentional vandalism," she said. "This is very, very unusual." Ben and his bench will have to be removed from campus this Friday for repairs and will be absent for about a week, Jacovini said. Officials have moved the statue about two feet further south in order to chain it to a railing. College senior Lyen Djakov, who works with Jacovini, said yesterday that she was "appalled that anyone would do that," adding that she has not seen other vandalism on such a scale. And while some students did not notice Ben's new location, others mourned the damage the statue suffered. "Poor Ben," said College freshman Kristin DiMezzes said yesterday. "Last spring I visited, and my dad said 'Oh, go sit in his lap.' I got my picture taken." "Poor dude," she added. "It's a really cool statue," College senior Geoff Hess said yesterday. "It was definitely the wrong thing to do."Comments powered by Disqus
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