Feathers still ruffled a bit over heron heist

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Eva Itskos, co-owner of Olympia restaurant, stands outside her business Friday where she has placed a sign asking politely for the return of the blue heron statue that was stolen last week.

COEUR d'ALENE - The artist isn't bummed with Coeur d'Alene, the restaurant owner has placed a sign, and police don't have any leads.

The Great Blue Heron is still gone, baby, gone.

And outside the Olympia restaurant at the corner of Third Street and Lakeside Avenue, co-owner Eva Itskos has placed a sign on the old perch, asking for its return.

"Please Bring Our Bird Back," the sign says.

She misses it.

"Because it's ours," she said.

Not really, she said. She knows it's a public art piece the city put on display through its Art Currents program, but outside the front window it became a part of the restaurant.

The $3,000 statue was ripped off its perch in the middle of the night last week and stolen.

It was right next to two banks and the federal building down the street, but the suspect or suspects are still at large.

Coeur d'Alene Lt. Don Ashenbrenner said a heavy workload has prevented the department from reviewing surveillance video from the nearby banks, but it still plans to do so. In the meantime, the case is suspect-less.

Nevertheless, Rick Davis, the Spokane-based artist, was surprised of the brazen theft, but doesn't hold a grudge against Coeur d'Alene.

Davis, who also designed the statues St. Francis of Assisi and Ganesha, thought it would be the Hindu god of all pieces of his that would get whacked. That statue drew protest this summer after it was displayed because, among other complaints, it was just plumb un-American.

"Ganesha has gotten all the attention for the last few months, and I guess I thought if anything were to happen it would have to do with him," Davis wrote in an email.

Any hard feelings?

"I can only say good things about Coeur d'Alene. The arts commission and the city itself have been great to deal with," he wrote. "All things happen for a reason. We'll just have to see what that reason is here."

He said he's started thinking about a replacement piece should the bird not come back, but doesn't have anything concrete yet.

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