It appears that owners of a children’s roller coaster will be seeing their gator sooner rather than later.
Officials from the Union County Sheriff’s Office have announced that the Go Gator carnival roller coaster has been found and recovered.
“We received a tip from the public, from someone who had seen all the reports,” said Union County Sheriff Jamie Patton.
He said an eagle-eyed tipster led investigators to a business parking lot in Cardington, a village on U.S. 42, about 40 miles northeast of Marysville.
The 50-foot ride was stolen from the Union County Fairgrounds between Aug, 27 and Aug. 28.
Patton said that once word of the unusual theft got out, “our dispatchers were inundated with callers saying they had seen the ride from as far away as Kentucky and California.”
Friday morning, the office received a tip about the Cardington location.
“We were able to go, locate it and recover it,” Patton said. “We brought it back and it is at our impound lot.”
The sheriff said he was not able to give additional information, but said no arrests have been made and the apparent theft is still under investigation.
“We are looking at everything,” Patton said. “At this point, we are treating this like a stolen piece of equipment that has been recovered.”
He added, “If through investigation, this wasn’t what it was thought to be, we would go another direction.”
Patton stressed that results from the investigation will likely be turned over to the Union County Prosecutor’s Office.
The roller coaster, he said, will likely be turned over to United Midway, the Florida-based company that owns the ride.
“Any time there is equipment that a person or business owns, especially if it is used to make money, we try to turn it back over to the owner as quickly as possible,” Patton said.
Celebration Source, a company that rents the ride, describes it as a 50-foot by 50-foot ride that seats 12 children at a time. The roller coaster was valued at approximately $50,000.
Union County Fair officials said they allowed the ride transportation official to park at the fairgrounds with the stipulation that the Union County Fair would not be responsible for theft or damages to the property.
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