Tears rolled down Gail Bartok’s cheek as she described what the palomino horse statue stolen Dec. 27 from her front yard at 209 State Rt. 58 in Sullivan meant to her.
“It was an anniversary present from my daughter,” she said. “This is just terrible. I have enough on my plate right now to not want to worry about something like this. People may have done this as a prank but it’s not funny at all.”
The life-size fiberglass statue, a local landmark, stands approximately six feet tall and is worth $4000, Bartok said.
All that remained of it on Dec. 27 was a broken hoof still attached to a concrete base.
Dep. Brandon Banks of the Ashland County Sheriff’s Office, which is investigating the theft, said a tip was called in Dec. 29 that the statue was spotted in the back of a pickup truck driving south on Interstate 71.
A later tip backed up that claim and said the statue was seen within the Strongsville city limits between 4 p.m. and 5 p.m. on Dec. 30.
“She went to bed at 10, woke up at 8 a.m. and it was gone,” said Banks. “She suspected it could have been taken by someone from the Elyria area because while she was selling produce in the summer, a gentleman from there asked on more than one occasion if she would sell the statue. She didn’t want to do that because it was sentimental, but from what she said, he kept asking and asking.”
Aside from that, Banks said leads have been scarce.
Bartok, a widow since 2007, said the stress of ongoing treatment for cancer coupled with losing something that meant so much to her has been almost too much to bear.
“We’re good people and we didn’t deserve to have this happen,” she said. “It’s all just so frustrating.”
Anyone with information to share is asked to call the Ashland County Sheriff’s Office at 419-289-3911.
Jonathan Delozier can be reached at 440-647-3171 or @DelozierNews on Twitter.
Photo courtesy of the Ashland County Sheriff’s Office A life-size palomino horse statue, a landmark in Sullivan, was stolen Dec. 27 from the home of Gail Bartok. Tips have been called in to the Ashland County Sheriff’s Office saying the statue has been spotted in Strongsville.