Stolen giant pumpkin returned to its owner – but not before thief tried to carve it


There's a happy ending for a South Dakota man whose story went global after a giant pumpkin was stolen from his yard.

Matthew Murraine, of Spearfish, had appealed for the return of the pumpkin after it was stolen from his yard on Sept. 19 by a thief who cut the stem with the saw and backed their vehicle right up to the house to load it and cart it away, the Black Hills Pioneer reports.

After the story went viral, the pumpkin was found discarded by the side of the road – though not before the thief made an attempt to carve it

A passerby found the pumpkin and returned it to Murraine this week.

The 100-pound Big Max pumpkin was valued at around $200, and in the wake of its theft, the story was picked up by The Associated Press and was reported around the world.

"The Washington Post, Courthouse News, KSFY, AP, Yahoo news, Yahoo news UK: It ran everywhere," Murraine told the Black Hills Pioneer. "I was a little overwhelmed. I just wanted people in Spearfish to know."

Murraine had intended to give the pumpkin to his children, and after its theft two other local growers had pledged their own pumpkins to them to make up for it.

Speaking to The Washington Post, Murraine said that it wasn't even ripe at the time it was stolen.

"Kind of a foolish time to take a pumpkin, in the middle of September," he told the newspaper.

Canned pumpkin could in short supply for Thanksgiving

Amid the pumpkin thief in South Dakota, there has been a wider warning over this year's pumpkin crop, which won't affect Halloween but could lead to supply issues at Thanksgiving.

There are concerns over the crop in Illinois, the biggest pumpkin-growing state in the country, and it means there might not be enough left over for the canned pumpkin used to make pies come Thanksgiving.

"I would not wait until Nov. 20," University of Illinois professor Mohammed Babadoost told the Chicago Tribune. "I'd buy it whenever it comes to the store."

Libby, one of the biggest canned pumpkin makers, told the newspaper yields could be off by as much as a third in Illinois, which grows 90 percent of the country's crop.

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