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Update: Stuffed water buffalo located, Willmar Police credit Facebook users

A stuffed water buffalo, exactly like the one in this photo, was taken last week from Bethel Church in downtown Willmar. The item was made in the Philippines and used in a display raising money for missions. Willmar Police are seeking information from citizens about the theft.

11:50 update: Missing stuffed water buffalo recovered

WILLMAR — The stuffed water buffalo taken from Bethel Church has been recovered from a First Street business owner and returned to the church.

Willmar Police Capt. Jim Felt gave the update this morning and issued a thank you to all Facebook users who viewed the department’s post about the theft of the item and passed on information.

The business owner recovered the stuffed water buffalo from a teenager Tuesday. The item’s origin was unknown to the business owner until the word spread on Facebook.

The stuffed water buffalo was made in the Philippines and valued at over $70. It was being used in a display where the church was raising money for an actual water buffalo for a mission in the Philippines.

Police are now working on identifying the teenager involved.

10 a.m. post: Police seeking stuffed water buffalo missing from church

WILLMAR — Willmar Police are seeking information about individuals who stole a toy stuffed water buffalo from a local church raising money for missions to the Philippines.

According to a Facebook post and Capt. Jim Felt, the toy, worth about $70, was reported stolen around 3:30 p.m. last Wednesday from Bethel Church, 411 Becker Ave. S.W. The toy is described as 17 inches long, 8 inches wide and 11.5 inches tall.

The stuffed animal was part of a display at the church. A witness reported seeing two teenagers carrying the item along First Street around 4:15 p.m. that day, but police couldn’t locate the individuals.

Any citizen with information is asked to call 320-235-2244 and report it to Officer James Venenga. The case number is 13004559.

Gretchen Schlosser

Gretchen Schlosser is the public safety reporter, and writes about agriculture occasionally, for the West Central Tribune. She's been with the Tribune since 2006 and has 17 years of experience working in news, media and communications. 

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