CHARLEROI – Police said a 30-year-old Monongahela man flew the coop and led Charleroi Regional officers on a chase early Saturday morning when he was spotted with a stolen 10-foot rooster statue in the bed of his Dodge Ram.
Brody K. Nichols of 85 Ernest Ave. allegedly removed a fiberglass rooster statue from the adjoining yard of Tim’s Secret Treasures, an antique store in Charleroi. Police said they saw Nichols and another man, whose identity they don’t know, adjusting the rooster in the truck bed at the intersection of Washington Avenue and Fifth Street about 3:25 a.m.
Officer Michael Leasure turned on his emergency lights when the truck pulled out and turned onto Fifth Street, but Nichols, who was recognized by the other officer involved in the chase, did not stop, according to police reports. Nichols allegedly turned onto a dirt road leading to the 13th Street trails, where the rooster fell out of the truck bed.
Officers spread out in an attempt to stop the driver, but eventually lost track of the truck. Police were still looking for Nichols when the report was filed Monday. A check of the truck’s license plate revealed the vehicle was registered to Nichols.
Nichols faces a host of charges, including theft, receiving stolen property, criminal trespass, aggravated assault, fleeing police, reckless endangerment and criminal mischief for tampering with property.
While animal statues have been left outside of Tim’s Secret Treasures for years, the store’s owners never thought someone would hatch a cockamamie plan to steal one.
“I never thought that rooster would be this famous in a lifetime,” said Rhonda Jaquay, whose husband, Tim Bradburn, owns the antique store.
Jaquay said she received a call about 3 a.m. Saturday from her son, who said a neighbor heard noises and saw a Dodge Ram driving away with the rooster statue. She thought he was joking at first.
She said the statue is “more awkward than heavy” but weighs about 200 pounds, leading her to believe at least two people loaded the rooster into the truck.
The rooster was recovered and is currently being held as evidence at the police station. Jaquay said her husband purchases the animal statues from a molding company in Texas near the Mexican border, and they have resold them to a number of businesses from Pittsburgh to Fredericktown to Grove City.
Many travelers even stop to snap a photo with the animals, Jaquay said.
While she and her husband will purchase more surveillance cameras, Jaquay said they won’t be bringing the statues indoors because they won’t let one bad egg ruin the fun for everyone else.
“We leave them out there because they’ve never been bothered, and people like them, and they like to take picures with them,” Jaquay said. “I didn’t think anybody would be goofy enough to actually try to steal one of those.”