There's something about roadside advertising, from Hasslehoff cutouts to giant headphones, that turns drunk morons into thieves. But every now and again, someone pulls off a heist that's so fantastic, it can only be a hoax.
Thus was the case with the stolen giant mango at the center of Australia's "MangoGate."
The 33-foot-tall mango was built 12 years ago at a cost of $90,000 to celebrate the city of Bowen's self-designation as the mango capital of Australia. When it mysteriously went missing a few weeks ago, a number of suspicious people immediately assumed it was a publicity stunt. The sudden appearance of a Facebook page seemed to justify their cynicism.
Journalists, however, covered the case breathlessly.
The 10 metre high Bowen 'Big Mango' has gone missing overnight! Culprits were spotted using heavy machinery to move the fruit around 2am.— Jessica Nairn (@jessnairn) February 24, 2014
Then, last week, chicken restaurant chain Nando's just came out and admitted it had "borrowed" the mango, but refused to say why. (The chain also said Bowen Tourism was involved in the caper.) Well, this week it revealed the reason—it was all to plug a new mango-and-lime chicken menu item.
The video below shows the filched fruit sitting next to a big lime in Melbourne. Nando's later returned the mango to its hallowed roadside spot to tangle with drunk morons another day.