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Iowa City Zombie Burger to zombie thieves: Please return Debbie

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The remains of Debbie the zombie (r) at Zombie Burger on Burlington street. Monday, October 9, 2017. — photo by Zak Neumann

In a very seasonal criminal act that combines the aesthetics of Halloween with the drunken foolishness of Homecoming weekend, someone stole half of a zombie from Zombie Burger + Shake Lab in downtown Iowa City on Saturday.

“It happened at about 3 p.m., right after the game,” said Doug Tobin, the manager of Zombie Burger. “There were four guys, but it looks like two of them were the criminal masterminds. After they were done eating, the two kind of scoped out the whole area. Then one went outside and held the door open, while the other walked up to the zombie, looked around and then pulled the top part of the zombie off. They all took off running.”

Zombie Burger has had two zombie mannequin mascots — one male, one female — in its lobby since it opened in December. It was the female zombie that was attacked by the living.

“Her name is Debbie,” Tobin explained. “Now there’s just her husband, Harry.”

Debbie (l) and Harry at Iowa City’s Zombie Burger + Shake Lab’before the crime. — photo courtesy of Doug Tobin

Tobin said he’s pretty sure the thieves were at least semi-drunk. The way they behaved in the restaurant, and the fact they all had wristband and handstamps suggested there had been plenty of alcohol earlier in the day. So does one other thing: they apparently didn’t realize everything they did was being recorded by security cameras.

The one who grabbed Debbie also left behind a pretty important clue to the identity of thieves.

“He paid for his meal with a credit card. His buddies paid cash, but he paid with a credit card,” Tobin said, laughing. “I don’t think we’re dealing with criminal geniuses here.”

In light of the combination of drinking, Homecoming excitement and obvious lack of professional criminal standards, Zombie Burger is being generous.

“We just want Debbie back, we’re not interested in pressing charges,” Tobin said. “All they have to do is return Debbie, and that’s it. Harry’s lonely without her.”

If the possibly now-sober zombie snatchers are too embarrassed to return the purloined part of Debbie directly to Zombie Burger, they can drop it off at Little Village’s office, 623 S Dubuque St. The office is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. No questions will be asked.

Well, maybe one question will be asked: Did you remember you paid with a credit card when you decided to steal half-a-zombie? But no answer will be required. Just return the top half of Debbie.


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