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Police have recovered a giant foam snowman after someone kidnapped it from its display in a staged crime scene, making it a real one.

The Utah Highway Patrol created a display of four synthetic snowmen — one of them dismembered and three others crying for help — to draw attention to the dangers of drunken driving. UHP loaned the display to the South Jordan police, who had been using it outside the Harmon's grocery store at 11453 S. Parkway Plaza Drive.

But one of the snowmen disappeared sometime between Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning. It then turned up Tuesday evening in a movie theater parking lot about a block away, missing its nose and right arm. There was a note taped to its surviving limb that apologized for spending the weekend with Jack Frost, signed Steve the Snowman.

Police don't know who took him and how.

"It's a surprise because of how large and massive it is," said South Jordan Police Officer Samuel Winkler. He suspects the thief must have had help — the missing snowman is 8 feet tall and weighs about 200 pounds.

Winkler helped set up the display and made routine checks on the frosty fellows. He was the one who noticed one was gone when he drove by on Sunday. The dying snowman and two of his panicked friends were still in the parking lot, but the one with the red scarf, its face forever frozen in a silent scream, was gone.

Winkler remembered how much a "pain in the butt" it had been to move. He had to use a hydraulic forklift to get the statue out of a truck bed, and needed another person to slide it across the ground. Winkler figured the thief had help from three or four other people to load it into a truck.

The foam-and-paint snowman had no monetary value, Winkler said. He estimated it cost about $300 to make.

Stacie Stevens was driving south on Bangeter Highway Tuesday when she saw the damaged snowman in the parking lot of the Megaplex movie theaters, a short walk from where it was stolen. "I thought, that's an odd place for a snowman."

She then recognized it from a Facebook post on KUTV's page about the theft and called police.

It had been used in an effective scene of wintry decimation, Winkler said. People would often stop to take pictures with it, and when they did they'd see the warning. The South Jordan police department intended to use the snowmen on March 2 at the Safe Kids Fair to teach people how to avoid winding up like the poor snowman plowed to pieces by a car, and the UHP was going to use them again to teach seat belt safety.

Anyone with information on who took the snowman is asked to call the South Jordan Police Department at 801-840-4000, using case number 13F001931.

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