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Missing Travelocity gnome recovered

UPI News Service, 10/24/2007 

The Travelocity Roaming Gnome mascot has been found at Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill., after being missing since Oct. 12.

The two-foot tall "spokesgnome" figurine -- which stars in Travelocity's ad campaigns -- was found next to an industrial refrigerator in the lower-level kitchen of Northwestern's Transportation Center, The Daily Northwestern reported Wednesday.

"It didn't really hit until I saw him," said Jennifer Crosby, a Transportation Center employee. "When I saw him, I erupted in joyous expression. I grabbed him and swung him around."

Diana Marek, the center's assistant director, offered three theories regarding the gnome's disappearance and reemergence.

"At the time of the disappearance, someone stashed the gnome behind the fridge to retrieve it at a later time," she theorized.

She said it is also possible that "someone took it, but when the story hit, with all the press and everything, they felt guilty and wanted to return it, not wanting to be public about it."

However, she said her third theory is the most likely.

"I think the gnome did not want to return to (its home in) Texas," Marek said. "He wanted to stay here at Northwestern and perhaps take a few classes or something. He probably just got stuck in the corner while he was hiding out."

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Copyright 2007 by United Press International

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