-- A life-size fiberglass replica of a steer is back home safe after two tips led Maine police to find the steer on a small deserted island.
The steer’s return was celebrated Saturday with free hot dogs all day at Town & Country Foods in Greene, Maine, the steer’s home for the past 27 years.
Charlie, as the steer is known, was stolen from the front lawn of the wholesale food and butcher shop on July 16.
“We used to keep him out in front of the front door,” Town & Country Food’s office manager, Danielle Petersdorf, told ABC News. “About a week before he got stolen, we moved him out onto our front lawn to paint him and didn’t have a chance to secure him.”
One week after Charlie disappeared, the store put a wanted ad in the local newspaper, even offering a $500 gift card to anyone whose tip led to Charlie’s safe return.
The next day, the store received not one but two calls from people who each said they saw Charlie standing tall on an island off the Androscoggin River, located about 10 miles from the store.
“The first caller was a guy named Paul who was kayaking and saw Charlie on Gulf Island Pond,” Petersdorf said. “Right after him a lady called and said she was out four-wheeling and saw him at the same location."
Store officials called police who worked with the Maine Warden Service to retrieve Charlie from the island via a boat.
From there, Charlie was picked up at the dock by a Town & Country Foods delivery truck and returned home.
Police believe it was teenagers pulling a prank, Petersdorf said, adding that they told her they “found a bonfire and some other stuff there that kind of looked like it was a hangout.”
Police did not respond to ABC News' request for comment.
The first caller who reported seeing Charlie received a $500 Town & Country Foods gift card, while the second caller received a $100 gift card.
Both were on hand Saturday for the free hot dog festival celebrating the safe return of Charlie, who is now being carefully looked after.
“During the day, we bring him outside in front of the store and now, when we leave, we bring him inside the building,” Petersdorf said.