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Published: 6/7/2010

Downtown bar owner wants purloined bronze boar back

BY CLAUDIA BOYD-BARRETT
BLADE STAFF WRITER
John Orr, owner of the Bronze Boar on South Huron Street downtown, is missing his 150-pound statue. The police say they have no leads but believe that pranksters were responsible. John Orr, owner of the Bronze Boar on South Huron Street downtown, is missing his 150-pound statue. The police say they have no leads but believe that pranksters were responsible.
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It's big, it's bronze, and the owner of a bar in downtown Toledo wants it back.

But the 150-pound boar statue that went missing from the Bronze Boar on South Huron Street last week still is pig-headedly absent.

"I'm really ticked off about it, I tell you," the bar's owner, John Orr, said. "I want the thing back. It's the motif of the place."

Mr. Orr believes the 2.5-foot-tall boar was stolen from the bar at the end of last month while he was out of town. The statue, which was bolted to a table in the bar's outdoor patio, is a copy of another boar statue that hangs above the entrance to the bar.

The piece was removed despite an alarm system in the building and a 5 to 12-foot wooden fence surrounding the property.

"I don't know how they got it out," Mr. Orr said. "I imagine it was done at night when there was nobody here. It must have taken a couple of guys because the statue was quite heavy."

There are two dominant theories about who took the statue.

"I think it's at a frat house," bartender and manager Rikki Duke said.

"It was somebody desperate for money," customer Joe Solomon proposed.

At first, Mr. Orr said he leaned toward the latter explanation, imagining that thieves stole the statue for scrap metal.

Now he's convinced the thieves were college students playing a practical joke. He said professional thieves probably wouldn't have gone to the trouble of removing the heavy statue and risking felony charges.

"This is valuable, but it's not that valuable," Mr. Orr said. "The only people who would run the risk and spend that time are inebriated students."

Local scrap-metal yards said 150 pounds of bronze would fetch around $230 in today's market. Wes Dewood, a lab technician at OmniSource on Detroit Avenue, said yard owners in the area had been asked by Toledo police to keep an eye out for the boar.

"Something like that, we'd definitely question where they got it from," Mr. Dewood said.

Toledo police Capt. Ray Carroll said he had no leads yet on who took the statue, although he said most likely the culprits were pranksters.

"We've checked some scrap yards and such, and we really don't have a whole lot to go on," Captain Carroll said.

Mr. Orr is offering a reward for the return of the statue, which he said cost him about $2,000 to make. He didn't name an amount, but said he would pay more than the scrap-metal value of the piece.

Captain Carroll said it's not common for such large mascots to go missing, but it does happen on occasion.

In 2003, a 2-foot-tall wooden bust of actor John Travolta was taken from Mugshots Lounge on North Summit Street. It showed up a week later at The Distillery, a bar in South Toledo. At the time, Mugshots' owner Ali Joseph offered a $300 reward for the bust, a sum he didn't have to pay out in the end.

Thieves pillaged a Big Boy restaurant on Secor Road twice in the late 1990s by kidnapping its namesake statue. In the first incidence, a group of Toledo teens who called themselves the Pimps of Pimplyness took the statue and dismembered it. They littered the city with parts of the statue and notes reading, "Big Boy is Dead."

A few years later, another Big Boy statue was stolen from the same place. An anonymous call led police to a bedroom in Temperance, where they found the slightly scuffed statue grinning in a corner.

Big Boy statues have been stolen from restaurants in Port Clinton and on Airport Highway. The one on Airport Highway showed up in a private boathouse on River Road.

For Mr. Orr, having something disappear from his bar is nothing new. About five years ago, somebody stole a handmade wooden sign that was expensive to produce, he said. Other small items have gone missing.

"It seems like you can't leave anything ornamental, anything that improves the place and looks nice," Mr. Orr said. "This is a tough business to be in."

Contact Claudia Boyd-Barrett at:

cbarrett@theblade.com

or 419-724-6272.



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