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Giant David Hasselhoff Ads Too Tempting For Thieves

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David Hasselhoff (Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)

David Hasselhoff (Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)

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BOSTON (AP) — Actor David Hasselhoff flashes a dreamy smile and displays a lean tank top-clad torso in a giant new photo cutout that his fans apparently can’t leave alone.

About 550 of the cutouts, which are part of a Cumberland Farms advertising campaign, were pilfered from outside the convenience stores in recent weeks.

Only about 20 remain for the roughly 570 stores in New England and Florida, said Kate Ngo, who works on brand strategy for the Framingham-based chain.

Not that Cumberland Farms is particularly upset about the thievery.

“We want everyone to enjoy the Hoff,” Ngo said Wednesday. “We’re flattered by the attention.”

She added, “We certainly don’t encourage theft at our stores.”

Hasselhoff, who just turned 60, is best known in the U.S. for his work alongside a talking car in the TV show “Knight Rider” and as a lifeguard in “Baywatch.”

He’s now hawking iced coffee for Cumberland Farms. The cutout shows him from the waist up in a tank top, holding the coffee over the word, “Thirsty?” Ngo said the campaign with Hasselhoff started in May with TV commercials, and the outdoor sign campaign began this month.

Theft is common at retail stores, Ngo said, but “this particular campaign is probably a higher rate of theft than anything we’ve ever seen.”

Ngo said the chain will keep sending signs to stores that need them until the campaign ends in August. She wouldn’t share how much they’ve spent on replacements.

The company will use its Facebook page to ask people to stop taking the signs. It also has a request for anyone who already has one.

“We want to know at least the Hasselhoff is safe and he’s being taken care of,” Ngo said.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.

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