Four arrested in Butler bulldog costume theft
Indianapolis - Four people have been arrested in connection with two mascot costumes stolen from the Butler campus.
A tip led police to the arrests of 23-year-old Kevin Templeman, 20-year-old Brian Templeman and Austin Egenolf and Rick Darragh, who are both 21. Metro Police and the Indiana Intelligence Fusion Center assisted BUPD in obtaining information on the suspects.
"Who knows what goes through the minds of individuals like that," said Butler's VP of student affairs, Dr. Levester Johnson.
Butler University Police say the suspects are not affiliated with the university.
Police say the costumes were taken from Butler's Hinkle Fieldhouse on Aug. 21 and brought to a residence the suspects were renting near the fieldhouse.
The theft prompted a massive search and pleas from the person behind the Butler Blue mascot on game days.
"It is generally stored in a secure place and one afternoon, it was just discovered it was gone," the student mascot said shortly after the theft.
It turns out that while the mascot was missing - including the entire football season - Butler Blue was being held hostage in the shadow of his home, right across the street from Hinkle Fieldhouse.
"After issuing out a reward for information, we actually did receive a tip," Dr. Johnson said.
The tip led university police to a house near campus which the suspects had rented for the summer. While the costumes and the suspects no longer lived at the home, police eventually tracked them down.
The suspects are charged with a Class D Felony for possession of stolen property and a Class C Felony for burglary. The university says the tipster will get a reward.
Pieces of the costumes were recovered by Butler Police, but due to their condition, they cannot be used again.
"There was an eye missing. One of the jowls was severely damaged, one of the ears was mangled and really ripped apart. It was disfigured pretty heavily," Dr. Johnson said.
Two new bulldog costumes have been ordered from Street Characters in Canada. One of the costumes is expected to arrive by Nov. 18. The new costumes are valued at approximately $14,000. The university hopes to be reimbursed for that cost.
"Let's just say that, moving forward, the new mascot will definitely be under severe lock and key and double lock and key," Dr. Johnson said.
The bulldog is the mascot of Butler athletic teams. The University has had someone dressing in a bulldog costume at campus events for nearly 20 years. The stolen costumes had been in use for nine years.