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APE HYPE PAYS OFF FOR OWNERS

Gorilla grab: This might be overinflating the story, but the 12-foot gorilla atop the Glenwood Apartments in Provo was ape-napped.

For 31 days, the primate lay deflated in the hands (or in the closet) of some apparently fun-loving pranksters, who stole him from the roof in the middle of the night.Glenwood launched an all-out search for the gorilla, affectionately known as Glen, including a $12,000 advertising campaign in the Brigham Young University and Utah Valley State College campus newspapers.

Apartment residents tied yellow ribbons everywhere. Glenwood printed the hairy, Homer Simpson-like character's mug on 1,000 T-shirts. Managers offered free T-shirts for theories about Glen's disappearance.

One student figured animal activists spirited the gorilla back to the jungle. Another said Glen had an out-of-body experience and possessed the body of his roommate, who was seen scratching and grunting a lot.

"Instead of being jerks about it, we decided to have fun with it and play with it," said Teresa Yurchison, Glenwood manager.

The fun and the expense eventually paid off. The Glenwood received a message on its answering machine from the ape-nappers demanding 10 T-shirts and 10 passes to Johnny B's Comedy Club. Apartment managers paid the ransom, no questions asked, and got the $2,500 inflatable gorilla back a week ago Friday. He was unharmed.

"It was worth it," Yurchison said.

Glen made his triumphant return at the apartment's Glenwoodstock 1994 bash. He has since become somewhat of a celebrity. He's in demand all over town.

The gorilla will make appearances at Johnny B's, The Edge dance club and other student hangouts.

Nine lives : Overheard on the police scanner, "Subject has a history of committing suicide."

That's a pretty neat trick, albeit an unhealthy hobby.

Big wheels keep on rolling: Also on the scanner, we heard dispatchers trying to get a trooper to stop a white diesel truck barreling down the freeway to Las Vegas.

It seems the lady trucker had stopped for gas in Salt Lake City.

Her husband got out to go to the restroom, and she took off thinking he was in the sleeper. He was still back at the gas station, mighty surprised and concerned.

He wanted police to let her know he was not onboard so she could turn around and go back to get him.

On second thought, maybe this lady didn't like her husband, saw her chance and took it.

Hot water: Mapleton Councilwoman Rea Bleggi called Hope Crandall at midnight after the Trojan No. 2 fire on Maple Mountain threatened homes.

Because Crandall is on the emergency preparedness committee, Bleggi wanted to discuss strategy. Crandall said she was a little nervous about what to do.

"Well," said Bleggi, "this could be your baptism by fire."

Truer words. . ..

Backdraft: You know what? If the Mapleton City Council had agreed in December to let John Hendrickson go ahead with his plans to put a golf course on 600 acres at the base of Maple Mountain, the course would have provided a natural and extremely effective firebreak.

Who'd have thought?