Rabbit returned: Seven years later, stolen concrete bunny comes home

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By Alison James
Associate Editor 

A local bunny came hopping home last week.

Actually, concrete rabbits can’t hop, but Mack did make it back to his house on Oak Bowery Road seven years after being stolen.

“We never would have imagined anybody would have brought it back,” said Marilyn McCarley.

Marilyn and her husband Clyde McCarley bought the two concrete rabbits on a trip to the Chattanooga, Tenn., area to visit their daughter. It wasn’t long before “Mack” and “Molly” found permanent homes in a font-yard flower bed. Clyde added pink detailing to their concrete ears, and blackened in their pupils. People came to know their home as “the house with the rabbits,” and all was well.

But roughly seven years ago, after graduation night at Opelika High School, the McCarleys woke up to find Mack had been bunny-napped. Clyde said it broke their hearts.

“It’s not about the value of the rabbit,” Marilyn said. “It was just the fact that we had gotten so used to it, and everyone knew us as ‘the house with the rabbits.’ We liked the looks of it in our yard.”

“It was just something we had purchased together – something that reminded us of Chattanooga,” Clyde added. “It just made us sad that one of our rabbits had been taken from us … For seven years, every year I went, I was watching for my rabbit. I thought I would eventually find my rabbit. But I never did.”

But while Clyde never stopped searching for Mack, Marilyn said she was pretty sure they would never see the rabbit again.

“We sort of figured it was some young kid because it was graduation night at Opelika High School,” Marilyn said.

But the rabbit returned.

When Clyde went to the mailbox that morning, he was surprised to see a rabbit at its base. At first he thought someone had moved Molly from her flower bed, but when he looked over and saw her still sitting there, he knew Mack had come home.

“It was a real surprise when I walked out there that morning – I was real surprised to see my rabbit,” Clyde said. “I said, ‘Oh boy, Mack’s home.’”

An anonymous note in the mailbox told the story.

“Seven years ago as a bad prank we took your rabbit,” the handwritten message reads. “The fact of the matter is I can’t stand to drive by your house one more time and see the depressed look on the remaining rabbit’s face. He looks so lonely, especially during the holidays.”

The note, which expresses hopes that “all wrongs will have been righted. It was all in good fun,” is signed “repenting citizens.”

“When they got out of their teenage years, the good Lord put it on their hearts to go back and remake what they did wrong,” Clyde said.

Mack is now back in his rightful place next to Molly. Marilyn said they have thought of making a sign to put with him to thank whoever it was for returning it home – because there’s something they want the bunny-nappers to know.

“We’re very thankful they brought the rabbit back,” Clyde said.

“And we’re not mad at them,” Marilyn added.

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