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Double take: Mason City business creates a stir with lifelike dummy hanging from roof

A stunt done to get some laughs in Mason City did just that - but it also resulted in some calls to police.

Posted: Dec. 5, 2018 11:29 AM
Updated: Dec. 5, 2018 6:43 PM

MASON CITY, Iowa- A stunt done to get some laughs in Mason City did just that - but it also caused an increase of calls to the Mason City Police Department.
“I just did it to get some laughs, I’m a prankster like that,’ said Joe Paulsen, owner of Kllen Sweep Construction.
Paulsen added the Christmas decoration to his businesses replicating a famous scene by Clark Griswold in Christmas Vacation.
“It looked real hanging there from the gutter,” he said. “It looks like he is reaching for the ladder. All I had to do was get the legs moving a little.”
While Paulsen is no Clark Griswold, he made the dummy to look like himself and posted the picture to Facebook. After a few hours he had several hundred comments but the best part was watching people react on his camera.
“They would come up to help and I could see the relief on their faces when they realized it was fake,” he said.
The cleaver attention grabber meant to entertain passerby’s.
“I’m right on the highway,” he said. “I have 10,000 people going to see it. I thought it would be funny.”
Also caught the attention of local police.
“Tuesday night I got a call from police saying ‘you know we are getting a lot of calls on that, would you take it down?’ I said no, I think it’s funny,” Paulsen explained.
Paulsen did put up a sign saying the display was fake, but the calls kept coming in.
“It ties up our dispatch it ties up our officers going up there to check it out and we know it is a fake, just a dummy, but it can cause a whole lot of problems,” said Lt Frank Stearns.
So Paulsen took the display down this morning and tossed it in the trash. He said the idea wasn’t to stir up trouble just to have a little fun.
“I wish I didn’t have to take it down because it was still fun to see people pull up,” he said.
Paulsen didn’t have to legally take the decoration down, but the Mason City Police Department said they did appreciate the gesture.

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