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Head of Denmark Statue Returned

January 9, 1998

COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) _ Three days after it was sawed off, the head of Copenhagen’s famed Little Mermaid statue was returned today by a hooded man who dropped it off at a television station.

The drop-off was filmed by the same freelance cameraman who got a call before dawn Tuesday to come to a harborside park to see what had been done to the statue.

His footage, aired on TV2, shows a man in a black, wool hood walking toward the building of rival TvDanmark today, putting the bronze head on the ground and disappearing behind a parked car.

No arrests have been made. Police said they were examining the head for fingerprints and other clues, and also planned to question Poulsen.

Poulsen had offered a $2,600 reward and TvDanmark had offered $4,300. Poulsen said he got two calls Thursday night from anonymous persons saying the head would be returned and demanding they get both rewards.

He refused, but helped the caller contact TvDanmark, he said. Then he hid in a garbage container near the studio to film the drop-off, he said.

``We’re willing to pay the reward to whoever brought it back,″ Jens Hoevsgaard of TvDanmark said.

The statue, based on the Hans Christian Andersen tale, draws about a million visitors per year. It is cherished by Danes, who see the mermaid as a national symbol comparable to Paris’s Eiffel Tower or London’s Big Ben.

The Little Mermaid, erected in 1913, has had its head sawed off once before, in 1964. No one was arrested for that vandalism, although several people, including a radical artist, have claimed responsibility.

The original head was never found and was replaced with another modeled after the original.

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