PHOENIX -- A giant red spoon that was stolen from an Arizona Dairy Queen and sparked a mystery on social media was found Monday morning, and it's partly thanks to Pokémon GO.
Michael Foster, 52, was playing the outdoor mobile game when he spotted the 15-foot (4.5-meter) spoon around 7 a.m. It was lying on the ground behind a fence that surrounds a Phoenix middle school baseball field, just 2 miles (3 kilometers) from the scene of the heist.
“The first thing I did was send a picture to my wife and I said, ‘It’s the spoon.’ She said call the police," Foster told The Associated Press.
“I can confirm the Dairy Queen ‘red spoon’ was located and recovered this morning,” Sgt. Brian Bower said in an email Monday.
Detectives are continuing to search for the suspects who took the spoon, he added. Police are encouraging the public to submit any tips.
A school maintenance man came over and pushed it over the fence to Foster, who handed it to Phoenix police.
“I set it down. They actually did the lifting after we got it over the fence,” Foster said. “They strapped it to the top of a police cruiser.”
Foster said nobody else was around and the school was just opening when he saw it.
“I did kind of look around and was like ‘What?’ One guy did finally come by and was like, ‘Is that what I think it is?’ Yeah, that’s the spoon,” Foster said.
Phoenix police over the weekend released surveillance footage from March 25 that showed two men and one woman get the spoon out of its base and put it on a large flatbed connected to a pickup truck.
Owners Raman and Puja Kalra said last week that they hoped to get it back. Getting another spoon made, delivered and then installed would cost over $7,000. They even resorted to creative strategies such as printing T-shirts for staff that said “Where's My Spoon?”
Raman Kalra confirmed Monday in an email he was on his way to pick up the spoon from police.
“We are happy to have our spoon back and we are looking forward to the neighborhood creating more smiles and stories with this now world-famous spoon,” he said.
Dairy Queen is known for doling out plastic red spoons with their soft serve Blizzards. The Dairy Queen where the theft happened is the only Arizona location with a large red spoon. It's been a popular Instagram photo spot.
The couple, who own 34 locations, also offered a reward of free Blizzard treats for anyone who helped facilitate the spoon's return.
Foster said he doesn't need a reward.
“Honestly, we’re just glad they're gonna get their spoon back," he said.