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BEREA, Ky.- A $1,200 bronze bust of Kentucky Fried Chicken’s revered founder, Colonel Harland Sanders, has been recovered by police and returned to its rightful KFC franchise in Berea, Kentucky two days before April Fool’s.
The January theft made national news after KFC offered a reward of $500 worth of Kentucky Grilled Chicken for the safe return of the statue, which was sculpted in 1955 by Colonel Sanders' daughter Margaret and purchased in the early 1970s by former KFC franchisees Les and Jean Anderson.
The bust of Colonel Sanders was recovered in Independence, Kentucky, about 100 miles north of where it was stolen in Berea. The Independence police department received a tip to the statue's whereabouts. The tipster wouldn’t accept the $500 reward of Kentucky Grilled Chicken. KFC will donate the chicken to feed both Berea and Independence police departments.
"I think the Colonel would be really proud of the person who helped recover the statue," said Brett Neal, of KFC franchisee JRN Inc., which now owns the Berea restaurant and more than 200 other KFC locations. "The Colonel believed in always doing the right thing, and it is good to know others still believe in that too. And we're excited the reward money will be used to feed members of the two police departments."
KFC was contacted by Blue MauMau and asked if the stolen statue of the colonel was a Kentucky Grilled Chicken publicity stunt surrounding April Fool’s day. A spokesperson responded, "It's for real. There was an A.P. [Associated Press] story about it earlier today.”
The bust will be put back on display in the Berea KFC restaurant once additional security measures have been taken.