MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - Allen Snyder's garden gnome is apparently out of jail and now traveling the country. The 14-inch tall red-and-white statue disappeared from Snyder's Morgantown yard in the spring, and Snyder has since received three letters claiming to have been written by "Gnomey."

The latest letter, which Snyder received this week, included photos of the gnome in the company of Steelers fans attending Pittsburgh's football home opener.

"You never took me to any games," the note said. The letter ended: "Have to go now. Boarding a plane. Now, finally, broadening my travels."

An earlier letter included a request for bail money and included what appeared to be booking photos of Gnomey and another of the gnome in the back seat of a police car.


Snyder has no idea who's pulling this prank but said his short list of suspects includes several gag-loving friends.

The plight of his gnome has gotten a lot of attention. Snyder says people are always asking if he's heard from Gnomey.

"I never thought it would go this far," he said.

The story has even caught the attention of officials at Travelocity, which uses a roaming gnome in the online travel agency's advertising.

"While we know that your dear friend, Gnomey, can never be replaced, we're sending the enclosed Roaming Gnome to keep you company in his absence," wrote Michelle Peluso, president and chief executive officer of Travelocity, based in Southlake, Texas. "Hopefully your friend will find his way out of trouble and back to your front yard soon, although we can't help but admire his sense of adventure and love of travel."

http://www.bismarcktribune.com/articles/2006/09/20/ap/strange/d8k8qph00.txt