Smokey Bear stolen from fire department

Dec. 31, 2008 at 9:22 PM

NAHUNTA, Fla., Dec. 31 (UPI) -- A Florida fire chief said a 6-foot-tall wooden Smokey Bear cut-out was stolen from outside of his fire station.

Fire Chief Michael Carver of the Hortense Volunteer Fire Department said the handcrafted Smokey Bear was stolen Friday night from where it had been bolted to a wildfire danger sign outside of the station, the Jacksonville (Fla.) Times-Union reported Wednesday.

"Smokey the Bear is missing. He's gone, and we would love to have him back home where he belongs," Carver said.

Chief Ranger Barry Rowell of the Georgia Forestry Commission in Brantley County said the bear theft was the latest in a string of stolen Smokeys in the county.

"We used to have one outside our office here, but it was stolen so many times that we finally gave up and stopped replacing it," Rowell said. "We just couldn't afford to do it."

He said another Smokey was bear-napped earlier this year from outside the Waynesville Volunteer Fire Department in the county.

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