With a fame achieved by no other members of his kind in Istanbul, Tombili was immortalized with a small statue in his honor and the theft of the deceased animal's sculpture naturally sent shock waves among Istanbulites fond of its resemblance. Four days after it was stolen from the sidewalk Tombili (meaning "chubby one" in Turkish) usually occupied during his lifetime, the sculpture was found by locals a few hundred meters away on the same street it was located, presumably dumped by thieves.
Kadıköy municipality on the Asian side of Istanbul where the sculpture was erected announced it would undergo repairs and would be erected in its former place soon.
Tombili was a social media phenomenon after he was photographed striking a carefree pose while leaning on the sidewalk, resembling his fictional relative Garfield known for his lazy ways. After his death on Aug. 1, following the years he spent on the same street, Tombili's fans petitioned for erecting a statue of the cat. The sculpture, made by Seval Şahin who volunteered for the work, was erected on the spot where Tombili's infamous photograph was taken on Oct. 4.
The theft of the sculpture has raised outrage among its fans on social media who condemned the thieves for the "heartless" act of stealing a national icon while Kadıköy municipality vowed to erect a new sculpture for the beloved cat.
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