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Yogi Bear is returns to Jellystone Park

September 04, 2002|by MARLO BARNHART

WILLIAMSPORT - Yogi Bear is again waving to visitors at the Jellystone Park campgrounds.

"We're just so happy that Yogi is back where he belongs," said Vicki Vitkun, co-owner of the campgrounds.

Last December the well-known 10-foot cartoon character was vandalized when the arm was wrenched off the fiberglass statue.

Co-owner Ron Vitkun said after a nationwide search, he and his wife found an old Yogi Bear statue in a remote section of New Jersey.

At first the Vitkuns planned to restore their damaged statue but as it turned out, the one now gracing the entrance of the 90-acre park is new. But Vicki Vitkun said it is exactly the same as the one that was there before.

During a vandalism spree on Dec. 16, 2001, vandals tied a rope around the Yogi Bear statue's arm and used a pickup truck to pull the statue from its post outside the campground's entrance, Maryland State Police said.

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The right arm, in a waving position, broke off and the vandals drove away with the arm in the pickup. The rest of the statue was damaged beyond repair with damages estimated at $9,000, according to the Vitkuns.

Two teenage brothers and a 21-year-old were charged by state police. The juveniles pleaded guilty to malicious destruction of property and were ordered to pay restitution, perform 40 hours each of community service and write letters of apology.

"They've paid their debt," Vicki Vitkun said Tuesday.

The adult's sentence wasn't available.

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