AVON, Ohio - A well-loved area mascot is missing a key part of his costume.
Someone stole the head for Stomper the bear, who has been the Lake Erie Crushers mascot since 2009.
The team said someone took the head from a storage closet, but left the other parts of the costume. Stomper was a no-show for the Frontier League baseball team's last two home stands and the playoffs because of the theft.
"It affects everyone's time at the ballpark," said David Helm, vice president of business operations for the Crushers. "He was always dancing, signing autographs… It takes away from the experience fans can have." Helm called the 6-foot-8 bear a good dancer and fun loving.
"He's more recognizable than any of the players and all of the staff," Helm said. "People really love him."
The mascot was voted on by the community when the team started and is a nod to Lake Erie's wineries. Helm said Stomper's big feet are great for stomping grapes. The team has ordered a new Stomper, which will be delivered in two weeks, in time for any appearances.
The organization is working with the Avon Lake Police Department, but they realize officers have more important things to worry about. The Crushers encourage whoever did this to return the head, no questions asked.