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Vandals can't keep dino down

October 16, 2007|By JANET HEIM

BOONSBORO - Mary Young only needs one landmark to tell people how to get to her Mapleville Road home near Boonsboro.

She can tell people to look for the 800-pound, one-armed green dinosaur in her front yard.

The dinosaur is a few pounds lighter since vandals broke one of its arms with a baseball bat in the spring of 2006. That prompted Robert Young to put a sign next to the dinosaur asking for information about the vandals.

The Youngs said a young woman stopped by their house with the identities of the vandals, including information about their vehicle. Their neighbor across the street even has video of the rainy-night incident that took place about 1 a.m., although the footage is dark.

"It was just kids with nothing better to do. It took a lot to break it," said Mary Young, 65.

She has asked her husband to take the sign down, but admits the sign seems to be a deterrent to additional acts of vandalism.

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The dinosaur has been in their front yard for three years and in that time it has been spray-painted multiple colors, been decorated with chocolate syrup and marshmallows, and someone put a chain around it and tried to drive away with it, the couple said.

The dinosaur was originally brought to Boonsboro by the Youngs' nephew, Leslie Haga. Haga's son, Tyler, who was a kindergartner at the time, loved dinosaurs.

Haga, who has since died, was working in Ohio installing underground cable when he found the dinosaur and brought it back to Kensington, Md., where he was living at the time. Robert Young said it took seven men to unload it from a trailer to the backyard when Haga moved to the home on Mapleville Road in 2002.

The Youngs bought Haga's house in April 2004 and moved the dinosaur to the front yard so passers-by could enjoy it.

Robert Young, 64, is known to dress up the dinosaur for the season - perhaps a witch hat for Halloween, and a beard and Santa hat for Christmas.

One woman even photographed the dinosaur with a red heart and hat for Valentine's Day, then had a postage stamp made out of it for her daughter, who was in a car accident. Her daughter used to pass the dinosaur every day on her way to school.

"Lots of kids get enjoyment out of it. They stop and get their picture taken," Mary Young said.

Robert Young said people have offered to buy the dinosaur, but he's not selling it. To the Youngs, it's not only a landmark, but a reminder of Tyler, who now lives in Rockville, Md., and of their nephew.

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