It's been five days since the cement pig was stolen from the walkway in front of the Ruth's home on the corner of LaSalle and Ellsworth.
But despite an outpouring of support from nearby residents in the West Hartford Center neighborhood and lots of chatter on their local list serve, as of yet there are no clues as to the pig's whereabouts.
The Ruths' home has become known for its whimsical statues, which are beloved by all who walk by, especially kids.
The couple's first statue was a cement fish, which has become a landmark, and still sits in a flower patch right on the corner, now holding a sign requesting the pig's return.
When they first acquired the fish, Steve Ruth said, a neighbor suggested he cement it into the ground so it wouldn't be stolen. He did that, and when he got the pigs he did the same.
The pig thief dug it out, cement and all. Ruth thinks it weighed at least 60 pounds.
Neither Steve Ruth nor his wife Dale heard a thing. In fact, he said, when he left early Sunday morning to play golf he thought he noticed someone admiring the pig. But they were probably looking at the empty spot on the ground.
The Ruths' statues are so well known that when Dale reported it to the police, the first thing the officer asked was, "Is the fish okay?"
When landscaping the home, Steve Ruth said they wanted statuary but wanted to be whimsical so they decided not to get lions or gargoyles. He found one pig at Stonehedge Landscaping and Garden Center in Newington, and wanted a mate but there was only one in stock. It took eight months to get the second one.
The neighborhood kids are sad about the pig's disappearance. Many have named the animals. One told the Ruths that he was sad "Roast Beef" – his name for the pig – was missing.
Steve Ruth doesn't think it's likely that he will get his pig back, and figures it's probably sitting in someone's dorm room right now. But he's going to continue to ask for its return, and at the same time hopes that this incident engages businesses in the area to increase concern for those who live in the Center.
"We live smack in the Center, and I love, love, love living in the Center. I couldn't think of a better place. It's an incredible environment," Steve Ruth said. He and Dale moved to 21 Ellsworth Ave. from Simsbury more than a decade ago.
But living in the Center does have its downside, one of them being the behavior of those who patronize some local businesses.
"At 1 a.m. when the bars let out, it gets a little rowdy," he said. Dale Ruth said it can be pretty nasty. "We find beer bottles in our bushes, vomit on the sidewalk," she said.
West Hartford Police Sgt. Eric Rocheleau confirmed that the pig statue was stolen overnight Saturday. He said that night was busier than usual with several other acts of vandalism in the Center, including a damaged church sign, broken traffic gate, smashed bus shelter window, and magazines removed from a realtor's box and strewn around on the sidewalk.
"The pig is probably the most unusual of them all," said Rocheleau. Most of the incidents are opportunistic events, he said.
Rocheleau said West Hartford Police has extra patrols in the Center on weekend nights.
Steve Ruth is considering making a "Wanted" poster and placing it in the bars in the Center. Dale Ruth plans to write letters to bar owners. "We support them, and we think they need to control this a bit better," she said.
This isn't the first time a statue has been stolen from West Hartford Center.
Year ago a dog statue was stolen from the Elbow Room. Employee Rob Mazza said it must have been 8 or 10 years ago.
The Elbow Room got a ransom note, and the dog was later returned with a scrapbook of its journey. "He went to Puerto Rico, swimming in the ocean, to the Letterman Show, to bars in New York," Mazza said. The thief named the dog, and provided photos of its escapades, said Mazza.
Elbow Room owner Benny Deldon didn't involve the police, Mazza said, but they eventually found out that it was a patron who had taken the dog.
Mazza said the dog, which was used as a door stop in front of the restaurant, was eventually stolen again. It has not been returned.