The weeklong saga of the disappearance of the big gold biscuit from the front of the Leibniz cookie maker HQ in Hanover has reached a happy ending. The "Cookie Monster" returned his tasty treasure unharmed.
In Hanover, a thief posing as the "Cookie Monster" character from Sesame Street has returned safely the iconic ornamental metallic sign in the shape of a big biscuit that normally hangs at the entrance of the German snack maker Leibniz.
The thief nabbed the heavy gold-colored biscuit from outside Leibniz's Hanover HQ last week.
The "Cookie Monster" was very specific, demanding the sick children should receive milk chocolate-covered treats
He or she then issued a ransom demand, along with a photo posing as the Cookie Monster biting the biscuit.
The terms for the sign's safe return were delivery of milk chocolate biscuits to a string of children's hospitals and a cash donation to a local animal sanctuary.
Amid heavy local interest, the snack-snatcher later sent a photo to the Hannoversche Allgemeine Zeitung, and subsequently a second letter promising to return the biscuit because Leibniz boss Werner Michael Bahlsen "loves the cookie as much as me and is now crying all the time and is really missing it."
The Leibniz-Keks is a plain butter biscuit, inspired by the French petit beurre created in 1886. The word Keks in Leibniz-Keks was originally a corruption of the English word "cakes" by the Bahlsen family; it has since become the generic German word for a crunchy, sweet biscuit.
Terms of exchange unclear
Leibniz had previously promised to donate 1,000 cookies to 52 different organisations in exchange for the safe return of their 100-year-old shiny sign.
The episode provided much local amusement as the biscuit thief sent messages and jokes to the local press during the weeklong sequestration.
The children's TV institution Sesame Street also responded to the tale on Twitter, posting a message from the "real" Cookie Monster that read: "Me no steal the golden cookie. But me willing to help find real cookie thief!"
The brand name Leibniz comes from the philosopher and mathematician Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz. The Bahlsen company chose it at a time when it was fashionable to name products after historical celebrities. The only connection between man and biscuit is that Leibniz was one of the more famous residents of Hanover, where the company is based.
Despite the biscuit's academic associations, the president of the University of Hanover, Erich Barke, joined in the spirit of the occasion and denied that the perpetrator was one of his students:
"I've never seen a cookie monster in any of the classrooms," Barke joked, adding that If he should meet the monster, he would slap him on the shoulder, while suggesting he leave other people's property alone. "But, basically, it was a funny thing to do."
jm/msh (dpa, AFP)