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In today’s Europe spotlight, Stripes talks to Petty Officer 1st Class Ted Banks, notorious furby thief:

So, what’s the story behind the travelin’ Furby?

I stole it from a friend of mine, Kevin Tierney, who’s now a chief (petty officer) working for Combat Camera in San Diego. In fact, stole him almost a year ago to the day. It was the second one he had stolen. The first was a gift, and he searched high and low for this one, and as soon as he received it, it was stolen two days later. When I checked out of Combat Camera, so did Furby.

Whhhhy?

Furby travels the world. Where ever he goes, he gets his picture taken. Then I e-mail ’em to Tierney (through an anonymous e-mail account).

Where’s Furby been?

Belgium, and seen Gen. George S. Patton’s grave; Lichtenstein, Austria, Germany — many times to include Oktoberfest just last week; the 60th anniversary of the Battle of the Bulge in Ardennes; Pompeii, Mount Vesuvius, Buckingham Palace and all over London; Guinness Brewery in Ireland, golfing in St. Andrews (in Scotland); Paestum; Amsterdam; the Dachau concentration camp in Germany; he was in Rome for when the Pope died; Switzerland; Venice; Florence; even on stage for the Bang Your Head Music Festival in Belgium this past June, in front of 30,000 fans.

So the list of where he hasn’t been might have been shorter. Where next?

My big three are to take him to Russia, Africa and the Middle East.

You stole him. Why shouldn’t I call the police?

I wish you would, that would make a great photo. Furby gets arrested. Hehehehe.

Ever consider seeking counseling?

Don’t need it. I do this to mess with my friend’s head, and I do this because it’s a great, great way to pick up women. Women love posing with Furby. Cute, young, women. (He’s all smiles.)

So Tierney gets e-mailed photos from an anonymous sender of Furby’s travels. What’s been his reaction?

At first he was pissed, threatening to figure out whoever stole him. This is a special Furby. It’s a royal Furby. It’s a collector’s item. But after a while, he seems to appreciate it. … He’ll get him back, in a few years when he retires.

Don’t you have anything better to do?

God, apparently not. Sure I do, but this is a lot of fun, too. And I meet girls.

— Interview conducted by Sandra Jontz

Ted Banks

Age: 37

Title: Furby thief

Day job: Petty Officer 1st Class, photographer/combat camera at Naval Support Activity Naples, Italy.

Europe readers: Know someone whose accomplishments, talents, job, hobby, volunteer work, awards or good deeds qualify them for 15 minutes of fame? How about someone whose claim to glory is a bit out of the ordinary — even, dare we say, oddball? Send the person’s name and contact information to news@mail.estripes.osd.mi.

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