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Who's kidnapping the Pine Ridge flamingos?

They and lots of other yard ornaments have been stolen or damaged.

Thieves with a taste for Florida kitsch appear to be making the rounds in this subdivision.

Citrus County sheriff's deputies are looking for suspects in a rash of lawn ornament thefts and vandalisms dating back to late June. They hope the public can help solve the case.

Missing or damaged items have included flamingos, metal yard egrets, lamp posts, mailboxes and a pair of ceramic lawn elves, though the elves were later recovered.

Deputies have a juvenile suspect in the theft of the elves, but the owner in that case declined to press charges after recovering the items. However, investigators are still seeking suspects in many of the other cases, which have involved nearly three dozen property owners.

The thefts and vandalisms have been spread throughout Pine Ridge, though several streets have more than one homeowner who has reported something stolen or damaged in a yard. Most of the incidents have taken place during nighttime hours, a Sheriff's Office release said.

The Sheriff's Office believes at least some of the incidents are related and are looking for tips from anyone who has seen, or does see, suspicious activity. Residents are urged to call 911.

"I don't know what's usual on a particular street," sheriff's spokeswoman Gail Tierney said. "But since these predominantly occurred in nighttime hours, people in a yard or removing something from a yard or beating something up would probably be a reason to call."

In the meantime, the deputies are conducting extra patrols.

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