In the strange realm of alien abductions, usually it’s the aliens snatching the humans. But in tony South Roanoke, what happened is the other way around.
Some humans abducted the aliens, in broad daylight, on well-traveled Broadway Avenue. The crime occurred April 22 in Robert and Dian Bolling’s front yard, sometime between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. And the Bollings want them back.
They’ve combed the neighborhood, stapled wanted posters to telephone poles and taped them to storefront windows. So far, zilch.
The 3-foot tall bright green molded plastic creatures have been fixtures in the family’s yard for more than a decade, first at their place on Arden Road in Raleigh Court and more recently in South Roanoke, where the Bollings moved with their three sons in 2011.
The couple picked up the aliens for peanuts about a dozen years ago. They can’t recall exactly when, or where or what they paid –$20 each, perhaps. They bought them at an after-Halloween clearance sale.
Since then, passersby have spotted them up on the Bollings’ roof; at other times perched in the trees. At Christmas time they’ve been decked out in multi-colored lights. When the power went out for days after the derecho last June, the aliens held a sign in the Bollings’ yard: “Oops!”
“A fuse blew in the mothership,” Dian Bolling cracked.
On the surface it seems just like some ordinary dumb fun. But there’s another dimension to this. To grasp that, you have to get to know the Bollings.
They’re no ordinary family.
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