Authorities locate stolen Petal Panthers statue

PETAL, MS (WDAM) - Jones County deputies located Friday the bronze petal panther from Petal High School stolen earlier this week.

Jones County Sheriff Alex Hodge said the statue was found along Oil Well Road near the Jones and Perry County line. One of the paws of the statue was removed and the neck area cut.

One of three bronze panthers was stolen from north side of the school's football stadium Sunday. Petal's Head Football Coach, Steve Buckley says he notified the school the panther was missing when he was showing a friend the stadium Sunday afternoon around 3 p.m.

Officials said the statue was pushed over and then hauled away. The theft came less than 24 hours after Petal won the 6A baseball championship by defeating Tupelo 9-0.

Buckley says the campus has faced vandalism before, but this time is different because of the dollar amount. Buckley says the statue cost around $30,000 and weighs around 800 pounds.

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