|The 10-foot tall, fiberglass landmark was stolen Saturday night|
Staff Photo by K.A. Wagoner:
The feet are all that is left of the chicken that has greeted customers at Lake Plaza on Scruggs Road since 2001. Someone placed a bouquet of flowers inside one of the feet after the chicken was stolen Saturday night.
Wednesday, January 19, 2011
By K.A. WAGONER - Staff Writer
"Freedom," the famous chicken at Lake Plaza on Scruggs Road, was broken off its foundation Saturday night, stolen and discarded beside a dumpster about two miles away.
The 10-foot tall, fiberglass chicken was reported missing Sunday morning, according to Investigator Rick Toney with the Franklin County Sheriff's Office. Only the chicken's feet, which were bolted to the ground, remained at the entrance to the small strip mall.
"I am disappointed that someone would go to that extent to steal the chicken. It's very heavy," said Larry Altadonna. "I couldn't believe it."
The chicken was found Monday afternoon near a business on Lakewood Forest Road, where Altadonna said many other items had been discarded, like road signs and mailboxes."
"There seems to have been a lot of vandalism in this area lately," he said.
The unusual landmark is valued at $1,000, Toney said.
One Freedom fan placed a bouquet of flowers inside one of the chicken's feet Tuesday in memoriam, and quite a few callers have inquired after him, Altadonna said. But the landmark will be repaired and placed back in its original spot, he added.
"Freedom just needs some minor surgery, and he will be as good as new," Altadonna said.
The chicken gained notoriety in May 2001, when Franklin County planning officials said the chicken violated sign regulations under the county's zoning ordinance. Giuseppe "Joe" Altadonna, the owner of Lake Plaza and the chicken, maintained that the chicken was not a "sign." Altadonna appealed the decision to the board of zoning appeals and won the case. The chicken has been a landmark on Scruggs Road ever since.
Anyone with information about the theft should contact Toney at 483-3000 or the anonymous crimeline at 483-6620.