Essex thief makes off with 6ft model of cartoon character Betty Boop

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A brazen thief has stolen a 6ft model of cartoon character Betty Boop from outside an Essex diner – on the one day the owners forgot to lock it inside.

The life-size figure of the iconic character was taken from family-run Grumpy’s Diner in Southend-on-Sea, Essex, by a man in a hooded tracksuit at 4.10am on Tuesday morning.

CCTV footage showed the effigy, which is worth up to £1,000, in its usual place on the pavement outside the restaurant when a man approached.

Taking a quick look around him, the man scooped the statue up and placed it over his shoulder. He carried it down the street and out of sight. 

The life-size figure of the iconic character was taken from family-run Grumpy's Diner in Southend-on-Sea, Essex, by a man in a hooded tracksuit at 4.10am on Tuesday morning

The life-size figure of the iconic character was taken from family-run Grumpy’s Diner in Southend-on-Sea, Essex, by a man in a hooded tracksuit at 4.10am on Tuesday morning

Betty would normally be brought inside when the shop was closed up, but on Monday night the figure was forgotten.  

Kerry Malone, 34, who co-owns Grumpy’s Diner with her brother Sonny Malone, 32, and their father Gary, 56, said: ‘It’s a little bit gutting, to be honest.

‘We watched the CCTV footage and we all though it was kind of funny – but it’s also a shame, because kids love having their picture taken with her when they come in.’

She revealed the figure had been in its place outside the diner since it opened five or six years ago, adding: ‘She’s a bit of an attraction – she stands outside the restaurant during the day and is definitely a talking piece.

Taking a quick look around him, the man scooped the statue up and placed it over his shoulder. He carried it down the street and out of sight

Taking a quick look around him, the man scooped the statue up and placed it over his shoulder. He carried it down the street and out of sight

‘It’s just frustrating as we would usually bring her in at nighttime when we lock up – but she was forgotten on that one night.’

Ms Malone still thought it was ‘funny that someone would try and steal her’ but hoped the thief would not sell the model on. 

She said if Betty Boop was not returned she would try to find a replacement, adding: ‘I don’t think it will be easy.’

Almost 700 people have now shared the appeal on Facebook to help find Betty Boop – with Ms Malone calling the response ‘amazing’.

She said: ‘It’s been fantastic and it’s very heartwarming especially with everything going on. It’s good to see people will still support small businesses and do care.’

CCTV footage showed the effigy, which is worth up to £1,000, in its usual place on the pavement outside the restaurant when a man approached

CCTV footage showed the effigy, which is worth up to £1,000, in its usual place on the pavement outside the restaurant when a man approached

Meanwhile, customers have been sharing their disappointment at the restaurant mascot’s disappearance.

One woman wrote: ‘Omg my daughter absolutely loved that… she’s gonna [sic] be crushed. Surely someone saw something.’

And another commented: ‘This makes me so sad! My girls love seeing her when we come in, I hope she’s returned in one piece.’

Betty Boop was a 1930s animated cartoon character based on a jazz ‘flapper’ girl.

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