It was a sad day when The Original Burrito Company employees discovered their beloved carousel horse missing from outside the Ahwatukee Foothills restaurant.
It's a symbol that has been with the company since opening day in 1982, but two weeks ago it was stolen from outside the store off Elliot Road, between 48th and 51st streets.
"It was just a shock to us," manager Monica De La Cruz said. "That horse weighs about 500 pounds. They must have really thought it out to take it. When we moved to our new location it took four guys to walk it over here."
De La Cruz says it's not the first time someone has tried to steal the horse, but it is the first time it has actually worked. She said a few times people have underestimated the weight and they've found it lying around the corner, or just a few feet away.
Others have often asked to buy the horse, but it's just not for sale. It has always had too much value to the De La Cruz family.
"I remember when my uncle brought it in. It was standing up and had a Coca-Cola bottom on it, and it was all silver," De La Cruz said, recounting when she first saw the horse. "He brought out the paint and told us kids to paint it. It was sentimental to us. Our whole family helped stand out on the porch and paint it."
Because the Burrito Co. is on a county island Phoenix police couldn't do much to help when the horse went missing, but because they're usual customers De La Cruz said they told her they'd look out for it. The mailman that visits the restaurant also offered to keep an eye out for it as he makes his rounds through the neighborhoods.
"Everyone knows that horse. It's so funny," De La Cruz said.
She smiles and laughs when she talks about the horse. It's a silly sentimental thing, but that horse has been a landmark for the company for 30 years. It's had some wear and tear over the years and it's obvious it was painted by a bunch of kids, but it still looks beautiful to them.
"Just return it, no questions asked," De La Cruz said. "Just put it back. We don't want to press charges, we just want our horse."
De La Cruz said they haven't discussed the details, but they'll offer a reward to whomever returns the horse. So take a good look at the photo, Ahwatukee, and to whomever took it, just bring it back!
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