French Gnab Gnome Bandit

53-year-old man accused of stealing 170 garden ornaments
By Drew Nelles,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 12, 2008 4:12 PM CDT

(Newser) – Decorative gnomes might be the bane of garden purists the world over, but for one Frenchman, they're apparently worth risking a stint in the slammer. Police in Brittany have arrested a 53-year-old man accused of stealing 170 garden gnomes and other ornaments, Der Spiegel reports—to the surprise of the many who figured the Garden Gnome Liberation Front was behind it.

The entire stash was squeezed into the man's 215-square-foot garden, a sight police described as "a real mise en scène on green-painted stones." Local residents eager to get their pilfered pixies back have flooded the authorities with calls, but the accused thief apparently repainted some of the ornaments beyond recognition, meaning the reunification of gnome with garden might have to wait. (Read more funny situations stories.)