February 23, 2024

The Wildman statue – Stolen by unknown culprits


This archived article was written by: Josie Sue Slade

The Wildman Statue was last seen Sept. 16. The next morning the Wildman man was gone. His disappearance created confusion, dismay and a whole lot questions.

Standing guard over USU Eastern’s campus, the Wildman statue watched the on goings of students and faculty. The Wildman pays homage to the area’s pictographs and became the unofficial mascot of Eastern. It stands behind the library and students pass the statue every day.
Previously the Wildman sat inside the student center and had a slot to collect money. A plaque stated, “Fill the Wildman”, and students would drop spare change into the Wildman.
Eventually the statue was moved to the library pit to add more ambiance to the area. From that point, the Wildman remained there. It wasn’t until the evening of Sept. 16, that the statue disappeared for the first time since it was originally moved. The library personnel first noticed it missing and sent a campus-wide email asking if anyone had seen it.
The next morning, faculty and students noticed it was missing. The reason behind its disappearance was a mystery. On Sept. 18, Greg Dart, vice chancellor for enrollment management, sent out an email letting everyone know that the statue was missing. There were suspicions as to who took it, but the only lead they had was a tan pick-up driving through campus at the time of its disappearance. Dart said that the people who stole it could be charged with a felony if they did not bring it back.
After some investigation, it was discovered that this is a prank designed to bring attention to the Wildman by students. The Wildman has been promised to be returned shortly, but it has still created worry and panic among members of Eastern’s campus.
A felony theft case has been created and is currently being investigated. None of the cameras on campus had view of the Wildman and there is no footage at the moment. The lack of footage makes it difficult to know exactly what happened. Campus police are doing everything they can to find the culprits. Dart said, “Anyone with any information is asked to come forward.”
The location of the Wildman makes it difficult to maintain, but it has never been a problem before this incident. The Wildman was not bolted down and was only held in place by rocks.
If the statue had been more secured, it is possible this would not have happened at all.
There is speculation on the motive and the question arose, “How much do students really care?”
The Wildman disappeared without permission and as a result the police had to become involved. The beloved statue is no longer standing guard over our campus. Students and faculty alike would like to see it returned safely and promptly.