Unique statue stolen from front porch

A one-of-a-kind "Okie" statue named Herkimer and his gallon of moonshine disappeared from an Ashland front porch Saturday night.

Herkimer spent just 24 hours on Gary Weiss's porch before he was stolen sometime between 11 p.m. Saturday and 6 a.m. Sunday. Weiss purchased the five-foot-tall redwood statue just a few weeks ago for $100 from an Eagle Point furniture maker and spent another $75 refurbishing it. It was a birthday present to himself, he said.

The statue was one of three unique carvings that sat outside R & B Upholstery & Refinishing for years. Herkimer was a caricature with crooked ears, a bulbous nose, oversized hat and blue overalls with a yellow patch. He was holding a gallon jug painted with x's to hint at the moonshine inside.

Weiss suspects the 75-pound statue went home with a college student who attended a party next door to his North Mountain Avenue home Saturday night, but police did not say they have any likely suspects this morning.

"He was out there all Friday night having a good time, and Saturday night there was a big party next door, about 30 college kids. On Saturday night before I went to bed, I said good night to him and told him not to drink too much, and when I got up Sunday morning, Herkimer was gone."

Weiss's front porch is only about 20 feet from the street, he said, and the statue was not tied down. He had lights on all night, making Herkimer clearly visible to passersby. He said he believes it was stolen on a whim as a prank.

"My birthday present has been stolen, and my faith in the common man has been violated," Weiss said. "The bad part is I can't just go get another one. He was a one-of-a-kind. He's irreplaceable."

Weiss reported the theft to police on Sunday, and they do not have any leads or suspects, said Sgt. Scott Schuster.

"It's pretty bold, but of course it was taken late at night," Schuster said. "Chances are, somebody just went up in the middle of the night and grabbed it."

Weiss is offering a $100 reward for the return of the statue. He can be reached at 482-4882.

Staff writer Julie French can be reached at 482-3456 ext. 227 or jfrench@dailytidings.com.

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