8-foot-tall Lego Man washes up on Florida beach, held in custody

Lego_manThe Lego Man's arrival in America was like something out of a 3-year-old's dream.

The 8-foot-tall, 100-pound fiberglass statue that resembles the little plastic guys that come in a Lego set was discovered bobbing gently in ankle-deep surf at the Siesta Key Beach in Florida, just before dawn on Tuesday.

The front of his shirt was emblazoned with a grammatically incorrect message: "NO REAL THAN YOU ARE." The name "Ego Leonard" was written on the back of his shirt.

Initially, some wondered if the Lego Man was a publicity stunt put on by Legoland, which recently opened a new theme park in Orlando.

But a spokeswoman for the company said that Legoland takes no credit for the stunt and is not behind it. "I wish we could say we did it, it was a brilliant guerrilla PR stunt," said Julie Estrada, the spokeswoman. A more likely explanation is that it's all part of an anonymous Dutch artist's experiment.

Google "Ego Leonard," and you'll find he has his own website, written in Dutch with some English translation.

"I am here to discover and learn about your world and thoughts," he writes. "Show me all the beautiful things that are there to admire and experience in your world. Let’s become friends, share your story with me, take me with you on a journey through beautiful meadows, words, sounds and gestures."

The website also includes photos and links to videos of the Lego Man's adventures around the world including an August 2007 YouTube video of the Lego Man washing up on the shores of Zandvoort, in the Netherlands.

In October 2008, he showed up on the shores of Brighton, England, according to the BBC.

For now the Lego Man's journey has landed him in the Sarasota County Sheriff's office. "Mr. Leonard is being kept in a secure environment until his owner comes forward," the sheriff's office writes in a statement

If nobody comes to claim him, he will be given to Jeff Hindman, the man who originally spotted Ego Leonard on Tuesday morning.

Hindman told reporters that if he does get custody of the Lego Man, he'll probably sell him on Ebay.

In the meantime, the Herald-Tribune reports that Ego Leonard sent the paper an email that explained he had crossed from one world to the other and was looking for some hospitality.

“In case people want to take me on new adventures, just that you know, I have been invited to stay here for 90 days, everybody is welcome to show me all the beautiful surroundings while I am here,” he wrote.

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--Deborah Netburn

Image: This photo provided by the Sarasota County Sheriff's Office shows a 100-pound, 8-foot-tall statue made to look like a Lego man that was found on Siesta Key beach in Sarasota, Florida. Credit: Sarasota Sheriff's Office.

 
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Rene Lynch has been an editor and writer in Metro, Sports, Business, Calendar and Food. @ReneLynch

As an editor and reporter, Michael Muskal has covered local, national, economic and foreign issues at three newspapers, including the Los Angeles Times. @latimesmuskal


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