She is an infamous and mysterious perpetrator, one who has so obviously walked our streets, yet we cannot quite place. Known yet unknown, the faithless stranger who came to partake in the bibulous joys of the Sierra Madre nightlife, yet once she was done with that stole our hearts. And not in the good way.
Purple prose aside, this really is quite an event. Kersting Court was clogged with news vans last evening, eager to get in on the Tragedy of Moo. Scouting the scene from the seat of my bicycle, I got to hear some of the questions being asked of our local folks as they walked by. "What do you think about somebody stealing Mother Moo's cow," the gentleman from KCAL 9 asked one busy mother with two tykes in tow. And then, to one of her small daughters, "Does it make you sad that the cow is gone?" The little girl nodded yes, it really did. And that isn't right, either. Then they went inside for some ice cream.
Mother Moo's Creamery itself was packed. While the loss of the cow certainly is having an emotional effect on the owner of the emporium, and after all nobody likes having things stolen from them, it certainly has not been bad for business. News of what happened there has spread like wildfire, whipped into a frenzy by a full blown media maelstrom, and the town has turned out to show its support. All while enjoying large cups filled with some delicious and at times unique ice cream.
The shop has also become the recipient of millions of dollars in free publicity. This story made all the Eyewitless News style TV broadcasts last night. It is just the kind of human interest story that appeals to the folks who watch those shows. And the ratings conscious news jockeys who pilot these infotainment revues gave the people just what they want. From a relatively new business here in town, Mother Moo's has now seen itself billed as a beloved local institution, one that has become the victim of a heartless crime. The nation in turn cries out in its shared pain.
This could end up being the most successful - if unintentional - business promotion in Sierra Madre history. Let's just hope somebody doesn't decide it would be smart to arrange the theft of a certain Wistaria vine.
Here is how CBS TV News transcribed their report on the station's website (click here):
There are crimes of passion and crimes of the heart - but rarely do you have a crime involving the theft of a plastic cow. Until now. How now stolen cow?
The cow was a small plastic fixture at Mother Moo Creamery, a local ice cream shop in Sierra Madre. The owner tells KCAL9 and CBS2 reporter Edward Lawrence that kids loved her.
Police have released surveillance video showing the bovine bandit. And the owner tells Lawrence he has no idea why someone would want to steal the figurine. Sierra Madre police said an unidentified woman came to the front of the store about 12:30 in the morning.
And it's all residents in the area can talk about.
Indeed. Now this wouldn't be a Tattler report if we didn't have just a little bit of social criticism to offer you this fine Saturday morning. After all, that is what we do here.
What if all the news vans had shown up on our streets when it was discovered that the City had lied about the reasons for ramming through the contentious and highly unpopular water rate hike of a couple years back? Would that kind of news exposure shamed our public officials into doing the right thing?
Or what if they were to come here over the next few weeks to report on the outrageous and quite possibly illegal attempt by local real estate hustlers and the sleazy politicians they control to steal the hard won rights of Sierra Madre's residents to vote on downtown development? Given that kind of media scrutiny, do you think they'd be able to pull it off? Despite the machinations of all their dishonest lawyers?
But I guess that isn't how you sell TV advertising to Sit 'N Sleep and Rusnak Mercedes Benz. It isn't what people look for when they tune into the local news. It's not what residents in the area can talk about.
I hope the cow comes home. I've been robbed, too. As have more people in this town than anyone seems to know. Maybe that is a cause for all of the outrage. Perhaps it's the anger of a shared painful experience.
We can hope.