Following the announcement of Keggy the Keg's disappearance early this afternoon, the Jack-o-Lantern humor magazine received a picture of the unofficial mascot, bound and gagged, in a threatening email message.
The text of the all-caps message, sent from email@example.com, warns Jacko staffers that "Keggy doesnt [sic] like questions. Stop asking them. He is alright ... for now ..."
The magazine's unofficial Dartmouth mascot was stolen from the library of Sigmu Nu Fraternity some time between Tuesday evening and Thursday afternoon, said Keggy co-creator Chris Plehal '04.
Both the Hanover Police and Safety and Security are currently investigating Keggy's disappearance, but as of this afternoon, neither organization had turned up any leads.
Although rumors circulated that the theft was part of a Jacko prank, co-creator Nic Duquette '04 stressed that the organization truly does not know the mascot's whereabouts.
If Keggy is not recovered in usable condition, the crime may bring an end to a roughly six-week-long reign in which the character, originally conceived as a response to the Student Assembly's failed mascot search, has captured the attention of audiences both at the College and beyond. Keggy received national media attention, including coverage in the Washington Times and on ESPN's Pardon the Interruption.
Of the status of its investigation, Hanover Police Chief Nick Giaccone said, "A report has been made to us, there is an officer that has been assigned, and the investigation is underway."
College Proctor Harry Kinne said that Safety and Security officers would be searching campus during their normal runs for the Keggy costume.
"We do not have any suspects in the theft or have any indication as to where it may be," Kinne said.
Plehal, a Sigma Nu brother, said that he normally stores the keg costume in his dormitory room, but temporarily moved it to the Sigma Nu library -- where he concealed it behind furniture -- to create space in order to move things around.
Plehal indicated that the library door was not locked and admitted that anyone could have walked in and taken the costume.
However, Plehal said that nobody knew of Keggy's whereabouts.
"I didn't tell anyone it was there," he said.
Plehal said that he spoke with the brothers at Sigma Nu and expressed confidence that nobody in the fraternity had any involvement in the theft.
In response to the threat message, the Jacko posted a blitz bulletin stating that, "The Jacko considers the kidnapping and ransoming of Keggy a funny idea in theory, but the joke has been ruined by what looks like irreparable damage to a carefully constructed costume."
Duquette told The Dartmouth that the missing eye might be replaceable, but "the nose can't be fixed and probably can't be recreated."
Although Keggy has prompted a polarized reaction on a campus notoriously sensitive for its Animal House image, Plehal and co-creator Nic Duquette '04 both expressed doubt that Keggy's theft was premeditated.
"There were a couple community members angry with Keggy, although probably not enough to do anything about it," Duquette said.
Andrew Argeski '06, the student dressed in the keg costume at Dartmouth sporting events, indicated that he was discouraged by the theft.
"It's just annoying that someone had to ruin our fun like that," Argeski said. "A lot of people are even more upset than I am."
Argeski continued: "I hadn't really been thinking about Keggy much because of Thanksgiving and finals."
Duquette expressed a similar sentiment in regards to the timing of the theft.
"Why did this have to happen during finals?" Duquette said. "I have other things to worry about."
According to Duquette, the stolen costume cost the Jacko $200 to create. The keg was created from part of a Tubestock raft and had fragile nose and eye pieces, he said.
"We were planning on keeping him around until student interest faded," Duquette said.
Recently, the Jacko began handing out and selling about 800 Keggy t-shirts around campus. The t-shirt drive raised more than $4,000 for the Jacko, Duquette said.
For his part, Student Body President Janos Marton '04 personally endorsed Keggy at a Student Assembly meeting.
Argeski was recently interviewed in regards to the keg character by Playboy Magazine for an upcoming issue.