Picky Pete statue found in Apache Junction ditch

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By Jennifer Thomas By Jennifer Thomas
By Jennifer Thomas By Jennifer Thomas

APACHE JUNCTION, Ariz. – A statue that was stolen from outside an Apache Junction restaurant has been returned to its owner.

A citizen located the statue of Picky Pete the miner lying in a ditch alongside the 2200 block of Star Avenue in Apache Junction Friday morning, according to Pinal County Sheriff's Office spokesman Elias Johnson. There was a small amount of damage to the statue's feet and head.

Apache Junction police assisted in the recovery and returned Picky Pete to its owner, Vinton Fugate. He said the metal statue was taken from the Mining Camp Restaurant sometime Monday night.

The figure is approximately 10 feet tall, weighs 150 to 200 pounds and is valued at $1,500. It had been removed from its cement and rock base, which stood next to a larger sign advertising the restaurant at 6100 E. Mining Camp St.

Investigators are trying to identify the suspects involved in the theft.

Fugate is offering a $500 reward to anyone with information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the person or people responsible. Anyone with information can call the restaurant at 480-982-3181 or the sheriff's office.

The restaurant opened in 1961 and is located near Highway 88 and East Mining Camp Street at the base of the Superstition Mountains. The historic restaurant follows the theme of the early mining camp cook shanty, according to the eatery's website.