T.H.E. Chicken, as it is called by its owners, has come home to roost.
The 7-foot-tall, molded fiberglass chicken, which was stolen a few days before Thanksgiving, is back home with Leonard and Harriett Arrington, 2236 S. 2200 East.Apparently, the dumb clucks who wrenched the chicken from a landscaped perch in the Arringtons' front yard found out crime isn't all it's cracked up to be.
"We got so much publicity that the people who had it had to give it up. Everybody knew it was stolen," said Harriett Arrington.
The chicken theft was first reported in the Nov. 18 edition of the Deseret News. From there, news of the missing chicken flew all over. The story was picked up by television and radio stations.
"We decided that people were tired of hearing about Saddam Hussein, so they had fun hearing about the chicken. Children loved it. It brought a lot of delight," Harriett Arrington said.
The chicken flew the coop in the wee hours of Nov. 17. A neighbor of the Arringtons called police to report that some teenagers and an older man had stolen the neighborhood mascot. The thieves twisted the huge chicken, which was cemented into the ground, until it broke off at the feet, threw the 7-foot bird into a truck and took off.
As news of the birdnappingspread, neighbors hoping for the chicken's safe return tied yellow ribbons to the Arringtons' house.
T.H.E. Chicken was more than whimsical yard art. It was a neighborhood landmark. Young couples headed for high school proms would stop to have their pictures taken in front of the white giant. It also was a favorite photo opportunity for little trick-or-treaters.
The Arringtons received the chicken as a Christmas gift three years ago from Rick Sorensen, Harriett Arrington's son. He wanted to surprise his stepfather, Leonard, former historian of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Arrington, a chicken fancier of great renown, grew up on a chicken farm near Twin Falls, Idaho, raising chickens as a teenager for FFA projects.
The cheep gift wasn't cheap. It took months for Sorensen to persuade a Tucson, Ariz., antique store owner to sell him the mammoth bird, and he then had to have it trucked to Salt Lake City.
The hot bird was found hiding in the bushes at Highland High School by a school janitor. He gathered up a group of students, who hauled the chicken back to the Arringtons. "I don't think the Highland students took it. They wouldn't have put it in their own bushes," Arrington said.
T.H.E. Chicken is home now, but it's not back in its place of prominence. Besides losing its feet, the chicken suffered a cracked body in its clandestine travels. The Arringtons, at this point, don't know how to fix it or if it can be repaired. As far as they're concerned, the chicken pranksters laid a real egg.