By Tim Gardner
The hunt is still on to apprehend the thief or thieves who stole a 6-foot-tall, 180-pound fiberglass resin Sasquatch statue affectionately named “Bigfoot” from a landscaping business nestled in heart of the North Carolina High Country and hopefully, the statue’s return to there. Interestingly, the theft has received tremendous exposure from national, print, television and web media. Local media featured the story and it was picked up by many other news outlets from the region, across the state and around the country. Television stations in Charlotte, NC such as Spectrum and WSOC and WJHL TV in Johnson City, TN broadcast segments on the heist. Even the New York Post published a story about it and The Weather Channel plans to air a segment on this missing Bigfoot as well.
Terry Brewer, who co-owns Mountaineer Landscaping in Linville, said the unorthodox community landmark was stolen sometime late Friday night, August 23 or early Saturday, August 24. Customers had stood watch outside the business for the past several years to look at and photograph “Bigfoot” and others who didn’t even come in the landscaping business would also stop to admire the statue.
“The statue really brings in a lot of people for us–even if they didn’t buy anything from us, people stopping for selfies with him and they look forward to it,” Brewer noted. ”I was in shocked when I discovered that it was missing. I never thought about it being taken. It’s safe around here and we’ve never had any problems before.”
As Brewer acknowledged, the statue — which looks eerily similar to the Bigfoot named Harry in the 1987 cult classic movie “Harry and the Hendersons” — is a definite attention-getter. But it remains a mystery to her as to why anyone would steal it from this family-run business. She said she bought the specially made statue from a company for $3,000 several years ago and wondered how someone could be so bold, and perhaps so mean, as to swipe the Sasquatch from directly in front of her business.
“I don’t understand why anybody would take our Bigfoot,” she recalled. “It had to be hard for them to get it as it was bolted down and I don’t think anybody would need the statue other than us. I originally thought it was a prank and that whoever took it would bring it back before they got in big trouble. But it’s been several weeks and the chances of that are probably quite low. I’m sure it could be sold though by those who stole it though.”
She said she first suspected that perhaps a sorority or fraternity at nearby Appalachian State University or East Tennessee State University was behind the heist.
Brewer added that she has made arrangements to replace the statue and has contacted her insurance company about that process. However, it was not fully insured and Mountaineer Landscaping can only collect a monetary portion of what it cost.
She said she plans to have a new Bigfoot erected next year at Mountaineer Landscaping if the old one is not returned.
Avery County Sheriff Kevin Frye said that he and his department have gotten more than 1,000 hits or inquiries regarding the “iconic” statue since posting about the theft on the department’s Facebook page. That release, dated August 24, reads:
Searching for Sasquatch!!
The Avery County Sheriff’s Office is searching for Sasquatch and needs the public’s help. During the night person(s) unknown stole the 6’ 180 lb Bigfoot from Mountaineer Landscaping in Linville. Anyone that saw anything at this location please such as a vehicle pulled off last night or people around the business after hours, please contact the Avery County Sheriff’s Office at 828-733-2071.
“We are chasing down several leads,” Frye said “But so far, we’ve not found the Sasquatch in any of the locations that we’ve checked out.”
Law enforcement officer responded to an unfounded report about the statue being on the back of a truck headed toward Hickory as well as in various other places, including in Avery and Watauga counties. Some have jokingly said the fiberglass resin statue might even be located on Saturday, September 14 at the WNC Bigfoot Festival in nearby Marion, NC. Last year’s festival had an estimated crowd of around 25,000 or more from all around the country. But the statue was not found there either.
“Where else would a Bigfoot show up other than a Bigfoot festival?, Frye said, laughing. “It’s so out of the ordinary that everybody has such an interest in the statue. I knew that when I posted a press release on Facebook it would generate some interest, but I had no idea it would become such national news. Hopefully, we’ll still locate it and catch the individual or individuals who took it.”
Brewer concluded that no charges would be pressed against whoever took the Bigfoot statue if it is returned to Mountaineer Landscaping. “So many people, especially including myself just want it back. So I hope everyone will remain on the lookout for this Bigfoot. He’s still out there somewhere!”
Pictures of the 180-pound fiberglass resin Sasquatch statue affectionately named “Bigfoot” from this summer: