By Kendall Downing
MUNCIE, Ind. - The search is on for a missing tiger. A life-size tiger statue disappeared from a Muncie man's front yard earlier this week. He wants to know who took it and hopes the rest of his statues don't vanish, too.
Muncie Police are investigating the theft. William Hutcherson is not new to this type of crime. He's had four other cat figurines stolen or damaged over the past ten years. The latest heist makes five.
His lawn along a busy road is well kept. But the cut grass isn't the only attraction. You might think it's a safari, but don't be fooled. It's William Hutcherson's yard, full of spots, stripes, and big eyes.
"The interest came in owning these figurines, started when I was in the Air Force when I was overseas in Okinawa, Japan," said Hutcherson, "I said hey let me buy a couple panthers and start decorating in cats."
Each animal has a name in memory of a family member. Earlier this week a hole in his yard showed up empty. Hutcherson saw a tiger missing, the one dedicated to his sister Patricia.
"I look out, and I don't see (anything) on it. And I say oh no, not again," he said.
The plan to finagle the feline almost went off without a hitch, but the crook broke off the cat's tail and left it behind. Hutcherson found the tail near a tree in his yard. He said the thief dragged the statue from the front of his yard all the way back to an adjoining road.
"Now who's going to take a large tiger and leave the tail," he said, "A tiger wouldn't even look right without a tail."
The collector has a replacement for the porcelain cat ordered and on the way. It costs about one thousand dollars. Hutcherson said he doesn't want the old tiger back because it's been damaged. As for the person who dragged the cat off its perch, Hutcherson wants them to answer for what they've done.
"I just keep telling myself, well, whoever are taking these, they're going to suffer in the end," he said.
Muncie Police do have a suspect in mind. They got a tip that a picture has been seen with the suspect and the statue. Police tell FOX 59 those responsible could face a theft charge.