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Smokey returns home

FPS staff report

Smokey returned
Fox Twp. Fire Chief Fred Barnett (right) is all smiles after being notified by the Carroll County Sheriff’s Department that a Smokey the Bear sign stolen from the Fox Twp. Firemen’s Park had been recovered. Sheriff Dale Williams, whose department tracked down a suspect in the case, is shown at left.

An APB (all points bulletin) issued to county residents for a missing Smokey the Bear figure has been successful!

“Smokey” as he is affectionately called by his owners, Fox Twp. firefighters, was recovered near the railroad tracks in Pattersonville about 300 feet from the intersection of Arbor and Bellflower Rds. Smokey was found lying among a patch of weeds.

Carroll County Sheriff Dale Williams said his department received a tip that led them to a suspect in the case. They interrogated Cody McClain, 19, of 312 W. Lincolnway, Minerva, who admitted he and another male stole the sign. 

McClain was arrested Saturday and appeared before Carroll County Municipal Court Judge Gary Willen Monday.  He was charged with theft, fifth degree felony, and released on a $5,000 recognizance bond.
Fox Twp. Fire Chief Fred Barnett reported Smokey the Bear missing Sept. 10 from where he had stood for several years - a fire danger level sign on the fireman's park grounds along SR 39.  The department received the sign in December 2006 as a gift from the Ohio Division of Forestry, a branch of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR). 

Barnett contacted ODNR about a replacement and was told the signs were no longer available.  He contacted the FPS in hopes an article in the newspaper would bring Smokey back.

“I was surprised by the interest in the return of Smokey,” said Barnett.  "After the article appeared in The Free Press Standard people asked me about it continuously.  I am so thrilled he was recovered."

Smokey reportedly came through the ordeal with “some scrapes and scratches,” but nothing serious and will soon be returned and settled back on his perch. 

A preliminary hearing for McClain is scheduled Oct. 10 at 3 p.m.

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