These bandits work in the middle of the night.
Sometimes they wear pink; sometimes they have short accomplices. They aren’t just mercenaries. They certainly do it for the money, but they also do it for the giggles.
They aren’t thieves at all. They don’t take things; they leave them behind.
Nineteen pink, plastic flamingos, to be exact. One just has one “leg,” but she still stands strong.
The takes donations to “plant” these pink plastic ladies in area front yards and then passes on the donations to other local charities, such as the and the Mutual Ground Women’s Shelter.
Rosemary Madsen, of Plano, never saw them coming. She has an Easter (plus early birthday) celebration with family, came home about 9:30 p.m. Sunday, and awoke Monday morning – the day of her 82nd birthday - to the birds in her front year.
“It was fun,” Madsen said. “I opened my garage door to pick up my paper, and I thought, ‘Oh my gosh, look what’s in my yard.’”
A banner also left in the front year identified the Junior Women’s Club, but the note just indicated that an anonymous donation had been made to the group. By 1:30 p.m., no one had taken responsibility for the middle-of-the-night tomfoolery.
“I have a niece who lives in Sugar Grove, and I called her,” Madsen said. “She said she didn’t do it. I think she’d admit it if she did it, because I thought it was fun.”
The actual bandits, of course, were Junior Women’s Club President Brigette Schroeder and this reporter (Yorkville Patch Editor Jillian Duchnowski).
The duo rode to Plano about 11:15 p.m. Sunday with the birds stashed in the back of Schroeder’s van. The 30-member group has a trio who typically “flock” the yards, sometimes with their children in tow but this pair flew solo Sunday night.
“Hopefully, she doesn’t have a Doberman,” Schroeder commented as they approached the house.
There was no attack dog but for a second, the duo thought a car might drive by and give them away. The vehicle, however, turned in the opposite direction.
The Junior Women’s Club members have been caught in the act just once – by a gentleman in his underwear, Schroeder said.
During that incident, the “flockers” darted into the bushes a few times but suspected the resident heard them talking in the yard about how difficult it had been to push the stakes into the hard ground, Schroeder said.
After a few flickers of the lights and a few darts into the bushes, the resident finally came outside to confront the bandits, who quickly explained their pink purpose.
Apparently, the wife had requested the “flock” but completely surprised her husband.
“Flockings” also have been requested to celebrate anniversaries and graduations and to welcome people home from vacation, Schroeder said.
One teen considered asking his girlfriend to prom via “flocking,” but the wind picked up too much for the birds to stay in the ground and properly spell the word “prom,” Schroeder said. They canceled that “flocking” after a test run turned into a test flight.
“They were just going everywhere,” Schroeder said. “… He went to Plan B on that one.”
Sunday night Madsen didn’t hear a peep. In all, the “flocking” took about 15 minutes to set up, with a nearby streetlight and Duchnowski’s cellular phone providing illumination.
Despite the chuckle the flock of flamingos gave her, Madsen said she hadn’t really thought of hiring a "flocking" herself.
“I think it’s a lot of fun,” Madsen said. “I probably hadn’t thought about doing something like that.”
For more information on the fundraiser, see the group's website at www.yorkvillejwc.com or call Brigette at (630) 995-5080. The cost to "flock" someone else is $20, while "insurance" against being flocked is also available for a donation.