Guido the Italian Sausage is safe and sound. But not before this bizarre story took another twist.
Two people ran into T.J. Ryan's bar in downtown Cedarburg, Wis., on Wednesday night and dropped off the stolen costume, the bar confirmed to FOXSportsWisconsin.com. As the two were sprinting out the door, they told the bartender that she "didn’t see anything."
The Italian Sausage was stolen Feb. 16 and spent that night barhopping throughout Cedarburg. Valued at $3,000, the costume was in the new multi-purpose building that houses the Milwaukee Curling Club during the city's Winter Fest when it was stolen from a back room, Cedarburg police detective Jeff Vahsholtz told FOXSportsWisconsin.com.
The thief then made an appearance, posing with fans in full costume sometime between 8:50 and 9:30 p.m. at T.J. Ryan's. Around midnight, the seven-foot costume was spotted at The Roadhouse bar in the Town of Cedarburg.
Police have been searching for both the costume and the thief ever since, but the Italian Sausage made no public appearances prior to Wednesday night.
Though somebody stealing one of Milwaukee-based Klement's Sausage's famous racing sausage costumes could generate a giggle from Milwaukee Brewers fans used to seeing the mascots race at games, Cedarburg police weren't viewing it as a laughing matter.
While the costume has been returned, the investigation into who stole the costume is still ongoing.
"We are looking at it as a theft," Vahsholtz said. "It would be no different than if you came in and stole my riding lawn mower or something out of my house."
One Wisconsin company wanted to see the sausages — staples throughout the community for numerous years — back together so badly that it was offering a very fitting reward.
Pleasant Prairie-based Mustard Girl was offering a year's supply — a case of 12 bottles of mustard a month — to anyone who returns the costume.
"We need our loved sausage racers back in one happy family," owner Jennifer Connor told FOXSportsWisconsin.com. "I hope this will bring the Italian Sausage racer back."
For its part, Klement's said it was working with the Cedarburg police to reclaim the costume, but also clearly saw the humor in the situation.
"This is the wurst of times," Rebecca Quella, director of marketing at Klement’s, said in a statement. "We hope to welcome home Guido with an official celebration and are optimistic for his return. We look forward to the return of the missing link so he can join the rest of the Klement’s Famous Racing Sausages in the local communities."
Follow Andrew Gruman on Twitter.