NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

October 13, 2009

Thurman Thomas statue missing, day after unveiling


ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) — A chain saw carving of former Buffalo Bills running back Thurman Thomas is missing from a parking lot across from Ralph Wilson stadium, a day after it was unveiled.

The project's creator, Therese Forton-Barnes, says the 8 1/2-foot statue carved from a fallen pine tree weighs more than 1,000 pounds and it took a crane to get it set up for Sunday's event. She says it would have taken several strong people with a flatbed truck to remove it. It's unclear when it disappeared.

Orchard Park police are investigating.

The statue was unveiled before Sunday's Bills game against the Browns. It's the 34th in a fundraising series that grew out of a 2006 snowstorm that toppled thousands of trees. The carvings feature celebrities, animals and historical figures.