“What a shame that was,” Foster remembered thinking for a moment.
He didn’t think much more of it until the next morning, when he went out on a walk to play Pokémon Go on his phone. Foster, 52, was on the way to Walmart when he stopped and did a double-take.
There on the ground, lying on the grass behind a metal fence at the edge of a middle school playing field, was the giant red spoon.
“I wasn’t quite sure if I was really seeing what I thought I was seeing,” Foster told The Washington Post.
Foster reported the discovery to Phoenix police, who recovered the spoon Monday morning, a spokesperson confirmed.
So ended a bizarre saga that prompted concern and bemusement from Phoenix residents and police, who’ve yet to find the suspects or determine why they chose their strange target.
The 15-foot spoon was reported stolen from the side of the Dairy Queen building on March 25, AZ Family reported.
Surveillance footage later released by police shows three people gathering around the spoon before one man begins loosening it from the wall. In another clip, he picks it up and walks away.
That weekend, Phoenix city councilman Sal DiCiccio asked residents to keep an eye out for the missing spoon — “It should stick out,” he wrote on Twitter. But it didn’t, and the spoon stayed missing for over a week.
The store’s owners, Raman and Puja Kalra, told the Associated Press that replacing the spoon would cost over $7,000. They said the wall with the spoon, which is large enough to hold a small child, was a popular photo spot and that their storefront looked “empty and incomplete” without it.
The Kalras planned to have staff wear shirts saying “Where’s my spoon?” and offered a reward of free Blizzards for its return, according to the Associated Press. A nonprofit tip line, Silent Witness, offered a $1,000 award for information on the suspects seen in the video, AZ Family reported.
But it was Foster who ultimately got the scoop on the statue’s whereabouts, by sheer coincidence. He set out Monday playing Pokémon Go, the mobile game that sends players to physical locations to “catch” Pokémon.
On a whim, Foster decided to extend his walk and spend a little longer hunting for a rarer Pokémon. He passed Marc T. Atkinson Middle School — around two miles from the Dairy Queen — where he stopped, stunned, to find the red spoon abandoned on the side of a playing field.
Foster messaged his wife, who told him to call police. The spoon was large enough that officers had to take it away by securing it to the roof of a police cruiser with rope, Foster said.
A Phoenix police spokesperson said Monday afternoon that detectives were still working on returning the spoon to its owners. Raman Kalra was headed to pick it up later that day, according to the Associated Press.
Foster hopes to take a photo with the spoon once it’s reinstalled at the Dairy Queen. He said that while he wouldn’t say no to a free Blizzard, he wouldn’t push to claim the reward the Kalras offered.
“I really feel bad for [them],” Foster said. “They’re trying to get a business going over there … and then some people just come by and steal it like that.”
“It’s nice to be doing something good out there and trying to help people out,” he added.
A few minutes after reporting the find, Foster finally caught the rare Pokémon he was on the hunt for, he said. He named his find “Big Spoon Day.”