Gina with Illinois Valley Regional Dispatch could not hold back her laughter last Wednesday.
A caller reported to police: “I’m not sure if anybody has called this in yet, but there’s, um ... a loose kangaroo, in Peru.”
“Yes, we have an officer. ... I wish I could witness this myself,” Gina replied.
“You can’t make this up,” the caller replied.
By now, folks in La Salle County and beyond have heard of Wally the wallaroo and the about two-hour journey he took around the city of Peru.
Wally escaped from his owners house Dec. 2 and took the Peru Police Department on a wild chase. He hopped through town followed by police, city employees and local residents and made his way to the Illinois River.
After jumping into the Illinois River, Wally was rescued by two fishermen flagged down by police to grab him and bring him to safety.
On Monday, Peru Police Chief Doug Bernabei said it was a situation he never believed the police department would have to handle, but he believes the department did the best job it could.
“My reaction was of amazement,” Bernabei said. “I never anticipated that type of situation, but you hear of a lot of weird things, so I guess it didn’t surprise me too much.”
After going through different radio transcriptions, 911 calls and emergency pages, Shaw Media Local News Network put together Wally’s route as he tried to evade police and city employee custody.
Wally originally escaped on Sixth Street in Peru before making his way over toward Andy’s Pet Shop, located at 2228 Fourth St.
From there, he was seen on the corner of Main and Calhoun streets before making his way to City Park.
Wally then was seen on Second Street heading east, coming from the direction of City Park.
The next sighting noted by radio recordings placed Wally on the north side of Illinois Valley Community Hospital heading east.
From there, recordings indicated he made an appearance by the Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses and Bridgeview Veterinary Hospital on Monks Avenue.
Wally then spent some time at the U.S. 6 and IL-251 interchange, as officers quickly shut down traffic on Route 251 and ramps to ensure the safety of the animal.
After leaving the interchange, Wally made his way down to Water Street and settled for a while in some brush located next to Maze Lumber.
Then, as most are aware, he attempted to escape police custody once more and ended up in the Illinois River where he was eventually scooped up by fishermen and taken to Bridgeview Veterinary Hospital.
Throughout the afternoon the Peru Police Department and the Public Works department used radio to make others aware of each sighting.
The response to those chasing the animal ranged, like the public’s, from shock to amazement, including one radio call that jokes the owner of the wallaroo was actually Joe Exotic, star of Netflix documentary “Tiger King.”
Bernabei said this particular instance is not something officers can be trained for, so the department treated the situation like that of a loose dog or a fleeing suspect.
“I think my reaction was no different than anyone else’s: ‘Really? A kangaroo in Peru?’ ”