This is truly a tale for a late night comedian. Recently, aspiring car thieves decided to grab a convenient Mercedes van in the German city of Wuppertal, thinking they made a great score by grabbing a valuable vehicle. The bungling burglars jumped into their new ride and drove off, not realizing they had just stolen a circus van. Dozing in the back of the van was a 5-year-old lion named Caesar, who is a star performer with the Probst Circus.
Although Caesar performs regularly with the Probst Circus, he is still a dangerous wild animal, not a house pet. Adult male lions weigh up to 550 pounds and are quite happy to make a quick snack out of anyone dumb enough to steal one. A confused angry lion is the last thing anyone wants to confront on a quiet road in the dead of night.
A spokesman for the Probst Circus, Laurens Thoen, expressed his concern:
“It is a dangerous matter. From the outside it wasn’t obvious that there was a fearsome predator within.”
After the theft of the vehicle, police put out an alarm for a cream colored van with a blue drivers cab. There were no identifying circus markings painted on the van’s sides and citizens were advised not to approach the vehicle under any circumstances. At the time of the report, local authorities did not know if Caesar was still in the van or wandering at large in Wuppertal.
Mr. Thoen was concerned that Caesar’s first instinct would be to look for food and water. Fortunately, the geniuses who hijacked the van later crashed into a road marker and abandoned the vehicle with Caesar still inside. There were no signs of blood or human remains, so it is assumed the perpetrators got away alive with all their body parts intact. Caesar was returned unharmed to the Probst Circus, and he recovered in time for his next performance.
There have been several strange cases of escaped circus animals recently, including a frightened camel who raced through the streets of Glendale, California in November. The treatment of circus animals has been a pet peeve of animals rights activists for years, and Caesar’s theft is certain to arouse their ire.
It may be slightly inappropriate to laugh over the circumstances of the dunderheaded robbery, but this is one time most of us would pay good money to be a fly on the wall when the hijackers looked in the back of the van and had a glimpse of Caesar licking his chops. The look on their faces must have been priceless.
Oh mein Gott, es ist ein Löwe in den Rücken!!