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Deputies: Cache of 60 stolen gnomes found

MOUNT VERNON, Wash., Dec. 17 (UPI) -- A string of lawn gnome disappearances in Washington state was solved when winds blew down a fence around the yard where they were being kept, authorities said.

Lisa Soneda of Mount Vernon said her daughter told her this month that the fence separating her back yard from that of her next-door neighbor had blown down to reveal an unusual sight, Seattle's KOMO-TV reported Thursday.

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"I looked over the fence and I think the first thing I said was: 'Holy crap!'" she said.

"Lots and lots of gnomes," Soneda said of the spectacle. "I counted like 46."

Skagit County sheriff's deputies said the total was closer to 60, and many of the gnomes, as well as other garden accessories, were found to have been taken from the yards of neighbors.

Deputies said about a dozen gnomes have been returned to their rightful owners thus far and the woman living next door to Soneda could face misdemeanor theft charges.

"This is theft," Chief Deputy Will Reichart said. "And I think to a certain degree, the victims feel a little violated somebody came on their property and took something that didn't belong to them."

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