Stolen Nutcracker returned to Froehlich | News, Sports, Jobs
STEUBENVILLE — The man who boldly kidnapped “The server” Nutcracker from Froehlich’s Classic Corner in the early hours of Friday morning and stuffed it into the back of a white van changed his mind.
Owner Greg Froehlich said he was found propped up outside the restaurant at the corner of Washington and Fifth Streets on Friday afternoon with a note from his captor saying only, “I’m sorry, I wasn’t smart.”
“He doesn’t look too damaged” said Froehlich. “There are a few scratches here and there, but the paint will fix that. It’s a tuxedo-style nutcracker and its tail fell off, but it’ll stick back together.
The server disappeared at 2:17 a.m., Froehlich said.
“Thursday evenings are quite busy” he said. “I have a 2:30 liquor license, so 2 a.m. is last call and people start filtering. I usually start walking down the hall to make sure everyone is okay.
He said that on Thursdays he tends to have a lot of students, “A decent, low-key crowd… children singing. I cannot say enough about the positive behavior of the students when they are here”, he said. “And I usually have a dozen regulars who come because of the karaoke.”
He was doing his late night visit when he realized the waiter had disappeared
“I was hoping it was just a prank and everything would be fine, but I didn’t see it” he said. “I thought maybe someone had taken it out of its holder and taken a picture with it – they had done that before – but then I looked in the museum room and it wasn’t there. . At that point, I thought it had been stolen. It was pretty blatant.”
Froehlich said he saw the caper unfold on his surveillance cameras and actually had a very clear image of the attacker’s face.
“We only filmed it for about 10 minutes,” he said. “He came in, stayed a minute or two then left, then came back for some reason and stole it.”
It’s not easy to keep a life-size nutcracker a secret, and Froehlich thinks the thief probably thought “Somewhere down the line someone would report him and he would be prosecuted.”
But that’s okay, he said, because the waiter “has great sentimental value, plus it’s an expensive little thing to try and redo.”
“I think it was one of the first to be done,” he said. “We keep it here all year round. We’re so thrilled (to have it back) – we flaunt it every day.
It wasn’t the first time one of the city’s famous nutcrackers had been stolen. In December, the St. Nicholas Nutcracker was removed from its location at the intersection of Fourth and Market Streets during the Nutcracker Village Expo downtown.
And, in December 2017, the Starman-Ziggy Stardust nutcracker, inspired by late rock music icon David Bowie, was removed from display in Fort Steuben Park.
Like The Waiter, these two nutcrackers have been flipped.