It was one of the few global headlines the German city of Hanover had made in recent months. Indeed, not since Lena won the Eurovision Song Contest and President Christian Wulff resigned in a corruption scandal had the otherwise sleepy city been the subject of so much attention. A golden cookie that had been an emblem of one of the city's most famous companies -- food and sweets maker Bahlsen -- had been stolen by a perpetrator who had dressed as the Cookie Monster from "Sesame Street". Some rumors even circulated that the company might have orchestrated the prank in order to attract attention -- a claim it denied.
On Tuesday, though, it appeared the cookie had been found, attached to a statue of a horse at the city's Leibniz University with a red ribbon tied around it.
The site of the find is significant, because the cookie had been modelled after the Leibniz brand of biscuits. The local newspaper, the Hannoversche Allgemeine Zeitung has reported that police on Tuesday morning used a fire truck ladder to remove the golden cookie, which was slightly bent and had apparently suffered damage after it had been stolen from the Bahlsen company's headquarters in the city. Later on Tuesday, police provided initial confirmation of the emblem's authenticity. Just one day earlier, the local newspaper reported on a letter it had received from the "Cookie Monster," indicating the emblem would be returned.
The letter arrived one week after the paper received a ransom note, with a picture of Cookie Monster biting the corner of the emblem. The perpetrator had demanded that the company donate cookies to the local children's hospital if it ever wanted to see its gold Leibniz biscuit again. The company's CEO later promised he would donate 52,000 packages of cookies to 52 social facilities if Bahlsen was given back its emblem.
Leibniz cookies are named after Hanover native son Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, a German mathematician and philosopher who lived from 1646 to 1716, and remains one of Germany's most admired intellectual figures today.
Police have not yet publicly identified any possible culprit behind the crime.