When Cal football took its first snap earlier this month of what would ultimately be a lopsided loss to Washington, it was already down one player: the giant inflatable Oski that hovers over home games.
The day of the Nov. 5 game, a deflated Oski — valued at $6,000 and weighing approximately 50 pounds — was stolen from the vicinity of its usual perch at home games behind the student section.
The alleged culprits, at least two of them UC Berkeley students, packed the mascot into their car and escaped with it in a personal vehicle as part of a prank, according to UCPD spokesperson Sgt. Sabrina Reich. The car was eventually traced to a local residence, where police found the mascot three days later.
The incident will be reviewed by the Center for Student Conduct, according to Reich. There was no apparent connection to Stanford University, Reich said.
Reich recalled that, in the last decade, there was some precedence for UC Berkeley-related symbols being stolen as pranks.
“Not specifically the Oski, though,” Reich said. “I don’t remember that.”