Things got medieval Wednesday when the head of the Duke Blue Devils mascot was found on a makeshift pike on top of Student Stores.
Staff members found the head atop the overhang facing the Pit when the store opened at 7:30 a.m., just 13 1/2 hours before the tipoff of the UNC-Duke rivalry game.
“We thought it was just a random devil head for a prank,” said John Gorsuch, the director of Student Stores.
Shortly thereafter, a maintenance worker scaled the overhang and removed the trophy.
For the next few hours, Student Stores employees buzzed about the head, taking pictures with it and pondering its origins. Then a picture of the head began circulating on Twitter, and media reports confirmed that a head was missing in Durham.
Around 3 p.m., Marketing Manager Kyle McKay called over to let the Blue Devils athletic department know it could reclaim its swiped noggin.
“Nobody knew that it was the real head until an hour ago,” he said.
Since then, the Department of Public Safety has confiscated the head for safekeeping until Duke representatives arrive to spirit it back to its Gothic origins.
The bulbless lamp that hoisted the stolen costume piece was left alone. McKay said Student Stores plans to throw it out.
“Unless someone wants it,” he added.
DPS Spokesman Randy Young said UNC is jointly investigating the theft of the costume piece with the Duke University Police.
McKay said he wasn’t sure what Student Stores would have done had the head’s theft not been confirmed.
“We didn’t have a plan for it,” he said. Staffers were simply enjoying a little excitement on the biggest game of the athletic calendar.
“The anti-Duke sentiment is high, obviously,” he added.
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