Although there is some ambiguity as to the level of concerted organization, there is a Garden Gnome Liberation Front which serves as a non-profit organization with the goal of granting freedom to unjustly imprisoned garden gnomes. Perpetrators of gnome liberation can be expected to be charged with a number of misdemeanor or lesser crimes including trespassing, petty theft, vandalism, and/or littering (if caught).
Since 1997, it has been estimated that over 6,000 gnomes have been liberated from private gardens by the group. In France in 1997, a man was found to have stolen over 150 garden gnomes over many years. Some suspect that this man may be the ringleader of the Garden Gnome Liberation Front.
Beyond the above event...below is a timeline of gnome liberations as collected from news stories and reports from around the world:
In Briey, France in September of 1998, 11 garden gnomes were found dangling by their necks under a bridge in an apparent mock mass suicide.
In Sarrelbourg, France on July 31st, 1999, 143 garden gnomes were discovered lined up in front of the town hall.
In April of 2000 in Bagatelle park in Paris, France, the Garden Gnome Liberation Front staged a nighttime raid on a large exhibition where 20 gnomes were kidnapped.
On August 1st of 2000, around 150 garden gnomes were found glued to the steps of Australia's central bank in Sydney, Australia.
In July of 2001, 74 liberated garden gnomes were found in front of the cathederal in Saint Die, France. Another 100 liberated gnomes were found in the woods in the Vosges region of France. Also in July, over 100 gnomes were found together in a traffic circle in Chavelot, France. Some were arranged to spell out "Free the Gnomes".
In September of 2001, camouflaged personnel scaled a 3.5m (10ft) wall, navigated barb wire and an electric fence, and rescued the garden gnome from the house of the South African version of the TV Show, Big Brother. It was then taken to a pub.
In December of 2001, a total of 75 garden gnomes were liberated at a cathederal in Saint-Die-Des-Vosges, France.
In August of 2002, 101 liberated gnomes were located standing in a circle in the woods of Podensac, south of Bordeaux, France. Also, in Melbourne, Australia, 18 kidnapped gnomes were liberated on the steps of the State Library.
In December of 2003, over 80 previously kidnapped garden gnomes were found lined up on the steps of a local church in Saint-Die-des-Vosges, France.
In March of 2005, around 100 gnomes were liberated in Lyon, France at a park near a motorway. On June 21st, 2005, over 30 garden gnomes were liberated on the roof of Color-Tech in Amherst, NY, USA.
In August of 2005, two women in Alloa, Clackmannanshire, Scotland were charged after 40 garden gnomes believed to have been stolen from the surrounding area were discovered after an 11-day police investigation.
In November of 2005, 18 garden gnomes were found lined up at a pedestrian crosswalk in Warrnambool, Victoria, Australia.
In late 2005 in Yakima, Washington in the Pacific northwest of the USA, a freshly liberated garden gnome would hang out on stage during each gig of a death metal band named Sealed Shut.
In January of 2006, 7 garden gnomes were found outside of the telephone exchange in St. Brelade, Jersey, England. Also in January, 12 kidnapped Swedish gnomes were found in a snowy forest standing in a ring around a bonfire.
In March of 2006, 19 garden gnomes were found lined up in Australian Rules Football positions on the Wyndhamvale Football Ground in Melbourne, Australia.
In June of 2006, about a half dozen gnomes appeared on the roof of an Italian restaurant in Bentonville, Arkansas, USA.
In late August of 2006, thieves made off with a 120 pound garden gnome that had been cemented into place in Hounsfield, NY, USA.
In October, 2006, 86 gnomes were liberated in the yard of a high school in Limoges, France.
On November 2nd, 2006, 79 garden gnomes were found hidden in underbrush with a banner that stated "Gnomes mistreated, Gnomes Liberated" in the Limousin province of France.
In August of 2007, an undisclosed number of garden gnomes were liberated in Brisbane, Australia in a northside park.
The Travelocity Roaming Gnome disappeared from Northwestern University's Transportation Center in Evanston, IL, USA on October 12th, 2007. It was found a week later next to a refrigerator in the center.