For Mary Tarasiewicz, gnome is where the heart is.
So when she woke up Sept. 14 to find her beloved seven gnome lawn ornaments missing from her front lawn in the 8300 block of West 162nd Place in Tinley Park, she called the cops.
"The other thing is, it freaks me out that someone was so close to my front windows and nobody knew it," said the mother of two Wednesday afternoon. "It's a wake-up call. I guess I had slipped into that comfort zone of thinking no one would do that."
took a second gnome-related report on the morning of Sept. 15, when a woman living in the 16300 block of South 85th Avenue in Tinley Park found about 15 lawn ornaments on her property. They included a plastic squirrel, a rabbit and you guessed it — 13 gnomes, according to the report. For an ephemeral moment, Tarasiewicz had a glimmer of hope.
"The police did have me come in to view a gnome lineup," she said. "Two of them belonged to me. I reclaimed them and now they sit on the porch very sadly, waiting for their friends."
One of the recovered gnomes was broken and Tarasiewicz jokingly requested that police provide her a body bag, she said.
Since the abduction, she's been spreading the word on Facebook and even on AM 1420 radio through her friend and show host, Brian Brophy.
"He put out an (All Points Bulletin) in case they cross state lines," she said, with a laugh.
Despite her frustration, Tarasiewicz has been in good spirits, throwing out random gnome jokes—such as "gnome pun intended"—every chance she gets. She even changed her Facebook profile photo to a picture of a gnome mooning the camera.
But that doesn't mean she isn't serious about her miniature friends' safe return. Particularly one gnome who holds a fishing pole. She bought him because he reminded her of her father, who has passed away, she said.
"I know it's kind of a funny thing," she said. "My husband and I remember when we were kids and used to do stupid stuff. But people don't even realize that some of these meant something to me."
She suspects that teenagers are to blame, she said, noting that students at had a late start the morning after the gnomes were snatched from their home.
Anyone with information about the gnomes' whereabouts should call the , 708-444-5300.
Should they be gone forever, Tarasiewicz has plans to honor their memory.
"If you come around during Halloween, we're going to make tombstones for all the gnomes," she said. "There's gnome place like home!"