A statue of comic strip character Dennis the Menace that was stolen from a park in Monterey, California, last summer has been found submerged in a nearby lake.
“Today is a happy day!” Monterey County sheriff Tina Nieto said at a press conference where the statue was wheeled in on a cart.
The sheriff’s dive team found the 3ft-tall statue in Roberts Lake after Monterey city police received an anonymous tip about its location.
His creator, Hank Ketcham, was a long-time resident of Monterey County and died there in 2001.
The park’s original statue was stolen in 2006 and has not been found. Its replacement was stolen in August 2022 by someone who cut through its foot to remove it.
In the years between the two thefts a Dennis the Menace statue was found in a Florida scrapyard and was sent to Monterey, where officials determined it was not the right one, KSBW reported.
The hospital allowed Monterey to keep that statue, which is now in front of a city parks building.
Ms Nieto said it is believed the statue found in the lake is the most recently stolen Dennis the Menace because its foot is damaged.
“We’re giving you back Dennis,” she told Monterey assistant chief Mike Bruno. “Don’t let him get stolen again.”