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Port Coquitlam’s pilfered penguin mysteriously returned to its perch

The penguin has been part of the family's annual holiday display since 2016.
Gabriel Hyvarinen, 15, has his inflatable penguin back after it mysteriously disappeared from the Christmas display he builds every year with his grandpa in front of their Port Coquitlam home on Paula Place.

Port Coquitlam’s pilfered penguin is back where he belongs.

Gabriel Hyvarinen, 15, said the inflatable Christmas decoration was returned in a plastic bag, just days after its disappearance was noted in the Tri-City News.

The bright blue and white bird with yellow feet, a scarf and a red toque has been a part of the Christmas display Gabriel builds with this grandfather, Digby Bentzen, at the family home at 1314 Paula Pl. since 2016.

He said working together planning, designing and erecting the display every year has solidified their bond.

But a little joy went out of the exercise when Gabriel's grandparents returned home from an outing on Nov. 26 and discovered the penguin — one of nine inflatable characters in this year’s display — was gone.

At first they thought it might have blown away in a wind, but that would have meant unplugging it from an electrical socket. Gabriel and his family walked the neighbourhood hoping to find it.

"It's really disappointing that someone would steal it," Gabriel said.

But the penguin's stealthy return to its roost has restored some of his faith, he said.

But Gabriel added, he's not taking any further chances; the penguin has been secured to its perch on a bench in the front yard with a robust number of zip ties.

To celebrate the restoration of their Christmas display, Gabriel and his grandpa are hosting some special events over the next couple of weekend that will also help raise money for SHARE Family and Community Services.

  • Dec. 17 — Photos with Santa, by donation and bring your own camera, from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m.
  • Dec. 18 — Hot chocolate and candy canes are being served for a loonie, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Dec. 24 — Santa, aka Gabriels’s grandpa, will be riding his decorated motorcycle around town and handing out candy canes from 1 to 5 p.m.