The Valentine Bandit

The Valentine Bandit started leaving its mark on Portland, Maine back in 1976. Nobody knows who creeps through the city, possibly dressed as cupid in red tights & feathery wings, to hang the symbols of love in the middle of the night. But as natives, us Mainers all know that if you drive through Portland on Valentine’s Day morning you will find hearts everywhere-stuck on the statue of Longfellow or Richard Ford, covering the window of Gritty Mc Duffs, or encasing the entire Museum of Art.

Hold the Valentine’s Chocolates and check out this informative list:

A brief history of the Portland Valentine’s Dady bandit courtesy of Slingshot Thought


1976 The first Valentine’s Phantom strikes in Portland, and garners reports in the Evening Express and Maine Sunday Telegram newspapers.

1977 Printing the flyers cost $22 at Colonial Offset Printing on Forest Avenue; a Portland Press Herald effort to discover the Bandit’s identity fails.

1978 Hearts went up a day late, and bore a note: “It’s not only ONE day!”

1979 The weather was 8 degrees and windy, according to notes made by one of the six bandits.

1984 Massive heart banners, roughly 20 feet by 35 feet, hang from the Cumberland County Civic Center and the Portland Museum of Art.

1986 A heart banner is hung on Fort Gorges in the middle of Casco Bay.

1991 Down East magazine imagines that “the phantoms roam the city in a pack, dressed in red or white capes emblazoned with huge hearts.”

2001 A heart flag flies from the roof of Portland’s Central Fire Station; a fire lieutenant denies any knowledge.

2005 A heart banner hangs from the roof of the Gulf of Maine Research Institute on Commercial Street.

2008 – The bandit tapes hearts all through the town on local stores and businesses.

So, if any of you kind readers have any real info, let me know.  I’m in.  I’ve got one good hand and I can tear tape with my teeth.

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About julietruekingsley

Crazed writer living on the coast of Maine! Attempting to blog daily in fifteen minutes or less.
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12 Responses to The Valentine Bandit

  1. kathy says:

    WE LOVE THIS tradition!!! We always take the kids in after school to see the hearts and try to find the BIG ONES! Did you notice last year there were some in Knightville and along the stores on Cottage Road? very cool that we are included in this tradition.

    Oh and I love your facts! I never knew one was hung on Fort Gorges! would love to see a pic of that one.

    Happy early Valentine’s Day.

  2. Mary Jane Rowan says:

    In Kittery we have a heart bandit, too. He, she, they hang hearts up and down on Love Lane during the week of. It is heartening to see such cheer in the midst of winter dreariness. And I think, personally, it’s sweet they acknowledge my birthday this way. So cheers to whomever lights up Love Lane and Kittery Maine and me.

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  6. kathy says:

    happy valintines day mom. from rachel!!!!!!!!!!

  7. kathy says:

    hi its jack k we are going to barns and nobal an will posiple go mine golf

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