Babar is a 400-pound bronze elephant. His owners, Gene and Beverly Darnell, kept him outside their home in Garland, Texas, until one day when the Darnells found that their beloved elephant had been stolen in broad daylight.
"I was putting things in the attic one day, and I heard this big bang," Beverly said. "I went outside to see what it was, and the elephant was gone!"
Beverly said it was between 10:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. when someone made off with the statue.
The Darnells believed they had taken the necessary precautions to protect Babar.
"He's 400 pounds and was chained down to the house," Beverly Darnell said. "We thought we were pretty well covered!"
She said she bought the elephant for her husband, Gene, because he had admired a similar elephant he saw in someone else's yard.
"He doesn't get excited about an awful lot, and he doesn't ask for much," she said. "I wanted to make him happy. After a number of years it's not that easy to find a gift that really excites somebody. … I wanted to give him something he would enjoy. And we have enjoyed it a lot. "
The Darnells are offering a $500 reward for Babar. They want to get all the information out to the public because they believe the thieves could have sold the elephant to another family who had no idea it had been stolen.
"He was well-loved," Beverly Darnell said. "There's a $500 reward, so they can use that to go toward their own elephant. But we want ours back."
And to the Darnells, Babar was more than a bronze statue.
"They must not realize that there are stories behind things," she said. "Not to say that money is easy to come by to buy something like this, but there are other things involved. He brings people together. It's been a joy to have and a joy to give."