Bill the Goat is safe and sound at his home at the Naval Academy Dairy Farm in Gambrills ? now.
Bill XXXII, Bill XXXIII and Bill XXXIV, the three angora goats that serve as the Naval Academy?s mascot, were taken from their home some time on Nov. 17 allegedly by West Point cadets during "Operation Good Shepherd," the code name used for the "goat-nappers," according to the a Naval Academy spokesman.
Proof of the clandestine operation, which ended Sunday with the goats? safe return, was first discovered on YouTube.com
"The Naval Academy was happy to learn about the safe return of our mascots, after being goat-napped, apparently by West Point cadets," said Naval Academy spokesman Deborah Goode in a statement.
In the YouTube clip, which was first reported on in The Capital, many of the thieves are seen dressed in Army camouflage and wearing ski masks. However, it is unclear whether the culprits are cadets at the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, N.Y. Navy has three goats that rotate serving as the school?s mascot.
Pranks are common in the weeks leading into the annual Army-Navy football game. The 108th meeting between the rival service academies takes place at noon on Saturday at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore.
"We never confirm or deny the existence of nuclear weapons, special operations forces or goat kidnappings. However, it is our understanding that the goats are in better shape now than they have ever been," said West Point spokesman Frank DeMaro in statement.
Though attempts at stealing each other?s mascots in nothing new between Army and Navy, the power of the Internet has taken it to a new level. On the YouTube footage, there are shots of the goatnappers preparing for the heist in a hotel room, along with shots of a goat in a large van and all three of the mascots in an unknown barn.
"Although there is a Memorandum of Agreement between the Commandants of the Military Academy and the Naval Academy prohibiting goat (and/or mule)-napping, it ?gets our goat? that some members of the Corps of Cadets seem to continue to ignore this agreement," Goode said. "The goats are as spirited as ever and look forward to being on-hand as we ?Beat Army? Saturday."
SEE FOR YOURSELF
Want to see the goat-napping? Go to: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CgAcXTzf-8s or http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pY705TNzEus.