A teenage suspect has been arrested and is being charged of theft by taking after he stole the life-size scarecrow replica of Si Robertson.
The scarecrow was made by the Ball Ground Elementary School fourth-grade parents for the city's annual scarecrow contest. It took 40 hours to complete and, surprisingly, looked almost identical to Uncle Si.
Ball Ground Police Chief, Bryon Reeves, said they started the search for the scarecrow after a concerned citizen called to report it missing last week. They then had another tip that the scarecrow was sitting at a neighboring home, but when they went to retrieve it, it was gone again.
“We discovered after a little investigation that a juvenile had taken it. I made contact with the juvenile who lives a little further away and he admitted to taking it,” Reeves said. “It was nothing but ashes it was completely gone.”
City Manager Eric Wilmarth said the juvenile admitted to taking the scarecrow, but did not live in Ball Ground, he just happened to be passing through and thought the scarecrow was "cool".
“He was just passing through downtown Ball Ground and thought Uncle Si was pretty cool and wanted him. He just didn’t think about the consequences, and I am sure didn’t think there would be so much publicity,” Wilmarth said. “The young man has expressed remorse — he is sorry for what he did — it’s just one of those things you can’t back up and undo.”
After realizing what he had done and the consequences for his actions, the juvenile decided to dispose of the scarecrow by burning it.
"It's unfortunate that they lost their scarecrow, but maybe ... out of his own remorse, he might make them a new one," Reeves said. "If they learn anything, it is that stealing is wrong no matter whose it is; if it's not yours, don't take it."
Allison Martin, who is one of the parents who helped make the scarecrow, said the parents have made the decision to forgive the thief.
"To begin with we were kind of upset, the main reason we had done 'Duck Dynasty' was because of the background and their beliefs and we truly believe in them, and as a community we have to forgive," Martin said.
Doug Knott, the principal of Ball Ground Elementary School said he is taking this incident and turning it into a positive learning experience for the students.
“As you can imagine, the students were very proud of their creation and the positive attention he had received from the community and strangers alike. While it is very disappointing to think that someone would take the scarecrow, I’m sure the individual did not take the time to think through these actions,” Knott said. “Though initially the loss was hurtful to our students and our community, our students are very forgiving and ready to move this into a positive learning experience.”
Image via Twitter