Guido, the Klement's racing Italian sausage costume last seen a couple weeks ago adorning a bar hopper in Cedarburg, Wis., was returned Wednesday night after a day of media focus.
The hot sausage reportedly was dropped off at TJ Ryan's bar in Cedarburg.
Two men - one wearing a hoodie pulled tight over his face - lugged the larger-than-life link into the bar just before 8 p.m. Wednesday, plopped him on a bar stool and warned staff, "You did not see anything," said bartender Jen Mohney.
"Like I didn't just see two guys plop a sausage on a bar stool," Mohney said.
Mohney said the two left in less than a minute and she immediately called police.
The theft of the $3,000 costume was no laughing matter for the Cedarburg Police Department. Whoever it was from the department who answered a phone Wednesday night dryly responded to questions, saying, "I'm not allowed to comment on an ongoing investigation."
The costume was stolen during the city's annual Winter Festival.
Until Wednesday night, the 7-foot get-up had been last seen Feb. 16. At a fundraiser at the Milwaukee Curling Club's new Cedarburg location, a witness saw the sausage walk out the south door about 7:45 p.m., Cedarburg police Detective Jeff Vahsholtz said. The Italian sausage walked into TJ's an hour later and also made an appearance around midnight at The Roadhouse Bar and Grill.
This is not Guido's first misadventure. In July 2003, the Pittsburgh Pirates' Randall Simon whacked the Italian sausage with a baseball bat as it ran by the Pirates' dugout during the daily sausage race, which is staged after the sixth inning of Brewers home games. The 19-year-old woman wearing the costume fell and skinned her knee, tripping the 21-year-old woman wearing the Racing Hot Dog costume. Simon was suspended for three games and fined $432 for disorderly conduct.
Vahsholtz said before the return of the costume that he couldn't say whether there would be charges for what seemed to be an elaborate prank.
The Famous Klement's Racing Sausages, which also include the Bratwurst, the Polish Sausage, the Hot Dog and the Chorizo, are a popular sight at Brewers games and recently appeared at the team's spring training in Arizona. The Brewers and Klement's each have a set of the costumes.
As the story gained media attention, culinary rewards were offered for information leading to the return of the costume.
Mustard Girl All American Mustards offered a year's supply of mustard to anyone who would return the Italian sausage costume.
Jennifer Connor, president of the Pleasant Prairie-based company, said the links couldn't race without the Italian Sausage.
"I'm a super big fan, and I like to give them big squeezes all the time," Connor said. "We have to keep our sausage racers whole."
Appleton-based GLK Foods, the largest manufacturer of sauerkraut in the world, matched Mustard Girl with a year's supply of sauerkraut.
"They're a statewide treasure," said Ryan Downs, president and owner of GLK Foods. "This can't go unpunished."