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Banana, lobster may have stolen ‘critter’ from UNC Student Union

CORRECTION: A previous version of this article said Clyde Jones lives in Carrboro. He lives in Bynum, which is south of Carrboro and Chapel Hill.

Security cameras show that an unusual pair — a banana and a lobster — might have worked together on March 31 to steal artwork valued at $1,000 from the Student Union.

Scott Hudson, senior associate director of operations at the Union, said footage shows four men, including one dressed in a banana suit and one dressed in a lobster costume, entering the Union at about 3 a.m. through an unlocked door. A wooden “critter” made by Bynum artist Clyde Jones was stolen, Hudson said.

Hudson also said the tape shows one of the men carrying a Bull’s Head Bookshop sign as he entered the Union.

Randy Young, spokesman for the Department of Public Safety, said the incident occurred at 3:08 a.m. March 31 and that the critter is worth about $1,000.

Hudson said images of the suspects taken from the video surveillance of the break-in will be shown on the monitors in the Union, and a reward will be offered to anyone who can help identify the men.

He said the University will not press charges as long as the critter is returned unharmed.

Young said DPS has linked to images from the surveillance tape on its Facebook and Twitter accounts, and anyone with any information can contact the investigative unit.

The Union isn’t the only building on campus with its own surveillance. There are about 500 security cameras across campus, said Brandon Thomas, facilities services’ communications director, though he couldn’t reveal where those cameras are located.

Security cameras have also been used to show a possible suspect involved in recent vandalism on campus.

But Young said DPS has no reason to believe that the March 31 incident is related to those acts, such as those occurring at McIver Residence Hall and the business school parking lot.

“Although (the timing) is fairly concurrent with other acts of vandalism, we’re treating them as separate investigations,” he said.

Hudson said Jones, the artist, visited UNC a couple of years ago and made critters in the Pit. He then had students help paint the critters, which he donated to the Union.

He said there were two small critters hanging on pillars in front of Alpine Bagel Cafe in the Union, and the one that was taken was located on the pillar closest to Alpine.

Hudson said in the 19 years he’s worked at the Union, only one other piece of artwork has been taken.

“It is a felony, breaking and entering — even if the door’s unlocked, we’re obviously closed,” he said. “And they stole something.”

Hudson said he thinks the value of the critter makes the crime’s consequences more severe.

“So it’s not a very smart prank if we catch who did it.”

Staff writer Sarah Niss contributed reporting.

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