About face

Carving found in 1952 stolen from man's yard

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Don Kilian found a section of log with a face carved into while on a walk along the downtown beach of Lake Coeur d'Alene in 1952. Kilian's 300-pound wooden garden fixture was stolen from his front yard between noon and 2 p.m.m Thursday.

COEUR d'ALENE - Easy come, easy go. Just as simply as the 300-pound carved wooden Tiki head came into Don Kilian's life, it just as quickly left. "It's just like kids," the 80-year-old Coeur d'Alene native said. "You don't miss it until it's gone."

COEUR d'ALENE - Easy come, easy go.

Just as simply as the 300-pound carved wooden Tiki head came into Don Kilian's life, it just as quickly left.

"It's just like kids," the 80-year-old Coeur d'Alene native said. "You don't miss it until it's gone."

The four-foot high round stump, with its cartoon smiling face carved on one side, was rolled away from Don's front yard near 15th Street and Spokane Avenue sometime between noon and 2 p.m., Thursday - vanished by the hands of suspected thieves.

But the wooden-face, which Don found washed on the shores of Lake Coeur d'Alene in 1952, left a trail.

Rotted chips from the stump's aged insides marked the trail the crooks took, across 15th Street to the south side of Spokane Avenue where it disappears.

Don asked around and called police, who filed a report.

Neighbors reported seeing young men hanging around a yellow Subaru, a red car and an old Ford pickup at the spot where the trail ends that afternoon.

"It must of took a few of them," Don said. "I tell you what that sucker is really heavy."

It took a couple of Don's buddies to help him take it home when he found it washed up at Silver Beach nearly 60 years ago. It was the prize of his driftwood collection as he always took rare finds home. He suspects that high waters back then flooded the piece from a cabin up in the hills down to the lake and Don's great luck.

"I like things," he said. "I got a basement full of things."

But such a find was the artifact it was put out on his front yard at three different homes, including one in Bayview.

After it was swiped, Don went to a wood shop to see if someone could carve him another, but it would cost $800, and his insurance deductible is $500.

"It upsets me that these guys had guts enough to do that in the middle of the day," he said. "If these guys are willing to do that during the day, what the heck are they going to do at night?"

Don's son planned to post a missing stump flier on the Internet.

No fault of police, but Don doesn't think he has much shot of seeing it again.

"It's probably in some kid's backyard," he said.

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