The iconic Lake Boone Chicken statue has been stolen.
From its more than 10-year stone perch in Nancy Hight’s driveway, the foot-high metal poultry sculpture greeted Raleigh with a fresh and ever-changing costume, sporting an Elvis-style pompadour for the Rock and Roll Marathon, a Tar Heels sweatshirt for the National Championship and a green jacket and club for the Masters.
But on Sunday a photo of a cardboard sign appeared on the chicken’s Facbeook page. The sign read “Call FBI: Chicken has been stolen.” Later, another photo appeared showing caution tape wrapped around the crime scene/former perch and the chicken’s Masters trophy on its side, left behind after the abduction.
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“I got up early and went out to put fresh azaleas on the Masters Chicken and what do I find?” a Facebook post read. “COMEY himself is looking into it (Russians) and Trump is tweeting that Obama is behind the loss.”
Dozens of people left comments on the photos asking after the welfare of the chicken, calling him the “neighborhood ambassador,” blaming “ITB hoodlums” and lamenting the loss of their mascot.
On its Facebook page that boasts more than 360 likes, the chicken is described as enjoying “romantic novels, rainstorms and long walks on the beach.” The page is intended to chronicle “the story of a simple chicken that inspired a city.”
About a decade ago, Hight attached the chicken to the stone pillar along the driveway of her Lake Boone Trail home, where it quickly became a local curiosity. It drew fan letters from children on the way to Lacy Elementary School and one memorable passerby, who told Hight, “I just wanted to let you know how much I enjoy seeing the chicken on the way to chemotherapy at Rex Hospital.”
This isn’t the first time the chicken has been bird-napped, though. It’s been stolen four or five times in the past, leaving a stump on Hight’s driveway pillar.
The chicken has been a fixture in the area, acting as a sort of talisman, chronicling Raleigh’s milestones and announcing its mood. The chicken carried a hockey stick when the Carolina Hurricanes won the Stanley Cup. It wore a yellow raincoat when the weather turned wet.
Josh Shaffer contributed to this story.
Abbie Bennett: 919-836-5768; @AbbieRBennett