Ay, caramba! Thief makes off with Bart's head

Author: Steve Esack Of The Morning Call

Source: The Morning Call, August 1st, 2007

Sean Beck was busier than normal Saturday night after the showing of "The Simpsons Movie" at Becky's Drive-In in Lehigh Township.

As he sprinted around the darkness of his family's theater, working a projector and jump-starting cars, Beck never heard a "yoink!" coming or a thief speed off laughing, "HA-ha!"

But it was the most brazen head heist since the statue of Jebediah Springfield was beheaded 17 years ago in the town of Springfield.

"If anyone is walking around the Lehigh Valley with a Bart Simpson head, you know where it came from," Beck, 36, said Tuesday.

According to Lehigh Township police, someone stole the $1,000 oversized costume head, which the drive-in had rented for the weekend premier of "The Simpsons Movie." The head, which a drive-in employee had been wearing to greet audience members earlier in the night, was last seen in one of the drive-in's two projection rooms.

"It probably happened late Saturday night night into Sunday morning," said police officer Robert Manigue.

Whoever the thief was, they have the heart of Montgomery Burns, Springfield's nuclear power plant owner who once tried to steal candy from baby Maggie Simpson. It was the first time a costume -- or anything of major value -- had been stolen from the 61-year-old drive-in on Route 248.

"I'm upset it's missing because the children enjoy when we have costumes here," said Cindy Deppe, the daughter of Becky's founders William D. and Alice Beck. "I can't believe someone had the nerve."

It was also the first time Drop Me A Line Costume Shop, an Allentown Halloween store that rented Becky's the replica of Bart's spiky head, ever had a costume pilfered.

"It's a shame," said Louella Torrence, owner of Drop Me A Line. "It doesn't happen at all. We rent to many businesses."

Now, the head either gets returned or the drive-in's insurance company has to eat the $1,000 cost.

Deppe, who co-owns the drive-in with her four siblings, posted a plea for the head's return on the drive-in's Web page. "Any information of the whereabouts of the Bart costume would be greatly appreciated and there will be a reward given to anyone that could help us get it back to the proper owner," the Web site says.

Deppe surmises that when Sean Beck, her nephew, left projector booth 1, which is connected to the snack stand in the middle of the field, someone dropped off one of the portable radios used to listen to the movie, grabbed their license and picked up Bart's head.

"They're probably selling it on eBay," Beck said, "or maybe they're just saving it for Halloween."

Have you seen this Bart Simpson head? Face: yellow furry papier-mache
Hair: yellow and spiky
Eyes: big and blue
Shape: circular
Height: 16 inches
Width: 12 inches

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