By Tim Gardner
Avery County Sheriff’s Department personnel and many other people have been searching all over for Bigfoot for months. Deputies finally found him where you might expect him to be: by himself far out in the woods.
Many times if someone calls in a Bigfoot sighting, it would be ignored or perhaps even chucked at. But in this particular case, it has caused jubilation from many.
A statue of the Sasquatch Bigfoot was stolen from Mountaineer Landscaping in Linville in August, and ironically it was found at a site less than an hour away.
A man the Sheriff’s Department released as being named “Mike” was in a remote area of a nearby woods in the Edgemont Community when he saw Sasquatch. Mike contacted local law enforcement authorities, and they found and confiscated Bigfoot from there.
“We feel since Sasquatch seemed unharmed and released in such a remote area, the thieves either had a change of heart or found that having a Sasquatch was just more difficult than they thought,” a news release from the sheriff’s office said.
The statue is 6 feet tall and weighs 180 pounds, so it wasn’t easy to move.
Avery County Sheriff Kevin Frye said Thursday that he doubts the statue had been in the location where it was found long, and that it was probably recently dropped off there.
“It’s typically where you’d think Sasquatches would want to hangout,” Frye joked.
For now, Sasquatch Bigfoot was moved to the Avery Sheriff’s Department headquarters in Newland and is under camera surveillance 24 hours a day.
“It is currently residing under camera watch,” Frye said. “We don’t want it to get away again, so it’s in close quarters.”
The statue is expected to be moved back to Mountaineer Landscaping either today or tomorrow.
“Bigfoot wasn’t damaged,” Frye added. “He seems to be in relatively good health.”
Terry Brewer, co-owner of Mountaineer Landscaping, said the unorthodox community landmark was stolen sometime late Friday night, August 23 or early Saturday, August 24.
“I was in shock when I discovered that it was missing,” Brewer stated. “I never thought about it being taken. It’s safe around here and we’ve never had any problems before.”
Sheriff Frye did not comment about if he knew who stole Bigfoot.
Brewer has said that no charges would be pressed against whoever took the Bigfoot statue if it is returned to Mountaineer Landscaping.
Brewer noted that Mountaineer Landscaping is trying to pay back an insurance company that covered the loss of the statue.
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. Customers had stood watch outside Mountaineer Landscaping 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.
Brewer 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.
The theft 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 and CNN have devoted segments about this missing Bigfoot as well.
Frye said his department received far more than 1,000 inquiries about the Bigfoot statue while it was missing.