Early Thursday morning, officers from the Scotts Valley Police Department in Santa Cruz County, California responded to a call about a "suspicious figure" by the side of the road. That's a phrase that could imply all kinds of scary things, but when the officers got to the spot in question, they found something they perhaps didn't expect: Bigfoot.
Yes, Bigfoot has been found in Scotts Valley, California! And by "Bigfoot," we mean a beloved four-foot-tall redwood statue of Bigfoot reported stolen from a local museum earlier this week.
The saga of this particular Bigfoot -- nicknamed "Danny," according to the LA Times, for his resemblance to Danny DeVito -- begins on Monday at the Bigfoot Discovery Museum in nearby Felton, California. Around midday that day, museum founder and proprietor Michael Rugg went out to run an errand and, when he came back, he noticed the statue was missing from its spot by the museum's front door, where it had been sitting to greet visitors since the place opened in 2004.
Rugg notified the Santa Cruz County Sheriff's Office, who put the word out on social media that local residents should "Keep your eyes peeled for Bigfoot." Then, on Thursday, Scotts Valley Police officers happened upon Danny on the side of the road, looking "a little banged up" but still in one piece. Later that day, he was returned to his home at the Bigfoot Discovery Museum.
Rugg told the LA Times that, while there are many images of Bigfoot in his collection at the museum, Danny holds a special place in his heart. “We made it because when I put the Bigfoot museum together, one of the things I did is I chose to make it look like one of those roadside attractions with redwood carvings outside,” he said. “It represents the building, Bigfoot and my knowledge of it.”
Rugg opened the Bigfoot Discovery Museum as the result of a lifelong fascination with the creature that he says dates back to a sighting at the age of 4. The museum is currently closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and has set up a GoFundMe page seeking donations to help it survive.