Billboard mannequin sparks 911 calls over suicide fears

UPI – by Ben Hooper

SPERRY, Iowa, Jan. 26 (UPI) — An Iowa business owner said he had a mannequin removed from atop a billboard after police mistook it for a man attempting suicide and “conversed with him.”

Brad Deery, owner of Deery Brothers of Burlington, said the mannequin atop the billboard along U.S. Highway 61 near Sperry was explained by the advertisement’s caption: “I can see Deery Brothers in West Burlington from here.”  

“We put him up there and holy smokes,” Deery told KWQC-TV. “I had no idea what would happen next.”

The Des Moines County Sheriff’s Department said about 20 people called 911 to report there was a man sitting on top of the billboard.

“We sent two cars out to check it out,” Sheriff Mike Johnstone said. “Of course after dark it’s very hard to determine that he is a mannequin. So, our deputies conversed with him for a short period of time and realized he wasn’t real.”

Johnstone said 911 calls continued to pour in about the mannequin after Tuesday’s visit to the site.

“They all assume that it’s a jumper,” Johnstone said of the callers. “They think it is someone going to commit suicide and there’s a lot of concern for his safety. He is very realistic so I understand that.”

Deery said he decided to remove the mannequin from the billboard Friday.

“The police call him Manny the Mannequin but we call him Bill because he belongs on the billboard,” Deery said .

“It definitely created a lot of interest and it was probably one of my more novel ideas,” he said. “I’m just going to have to top it somehow.”

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8 thoughts on “Billboard mannequin sparks 911 calls over suicide fears

  1. They didn’t think, and they didn’t bother to even read the sign. They also didn’t even bother to notice that he wasn’t moving. They just grabbed their cell phones and dialed 9-1-1 like they were trained to do.

    We have a nation filled with morons who dial 9-1-1 like a reflex action upon seeing any sign of nonconformity. They’re dangerous if they’re not re-educated.

  2. I say hang that mannequin from a hemp rope and let him hang there until someone is offended. It shouldn’t take too long.

  3. “…police mistook it for a man attempting suicide and “conversed with him.”

    CONVERSED with him?

    Must have been a one-sided conversation.

    Dummies talking to a dummy. 🙄

  4. “They all assume that it’s a jumper,” Johnstone said of the callers.”


    Did he make ANY kind of movements to indicate that that might be the case?

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