HOPKINTON — Judy Gray and her husband, Jay, owners of Festival Farm, have a simple plea for whoever took the signature Native American bust from the mailbox at the entrance to the business: please see that it is returned safely.
Hopkinton police are investigating the theft of the bust, a hand-carved pole-topper that has marked the entrance to the farm for a decade now and has since become something of a family heirloom. Judy Gray said in a phone conversation Thursday that she only wants the item, which holds more sentimental value than anything, returned to the top of the mailbox post.
"It was something that my late mother-in-law (Nancie Gray) had found. It was a special gift to us and we hope that we can find a way to get it back," Gray said.
The bust was first reported missing approximately a week ago, police officials confirmed, and was taken sometime during the overnight hours. Gray said she recalled hearing rustling and other activity that sounded like branches breaking, but there was no light on at the end of the 2 Canonchet Road driveway where the mailbox sits.
It wasn't discovered that the bust was taken until the next morning, and the couple immediately filed the complaint with police.
For the Grays, the desire to have the bust back stems entirely from how the farm came to acquire the piece. After purchasing the home in 2008, Gray said Nancie gave her the item as a welcome gift, and her father-in-law, Mac Gray, custom-fit it to the mailbox for them. The figure had remained there ever since — that is, until the recent theft.
Unfortunately for the Grays, the event is the latest in a rash of recent crimes targeting their business. Judy downplayed the incidents, but also noted that the farm has experienced overnight incidents in the past few months in which pumpkins and mums were taken or destroyed.
"Its disheartening," she said. "We don't want to cause any trouble ... we just want it to stop."
Hopkinton police said they are following the few leads they have and encouraged residents to contact the agency if they have any information about the whereabouts of the bust. Those with information are asked to call the department's non-emergency line at 401-377-7750.
"We’re hopeful the bust will be returned to the rightful owners or somebody will notify us of its whereabouts," the department said in a Facebook post. "If you’re able to do either of those two things, please do."