It was a caper that had the nation on the edge of its seat: the inflatable colon owned by the Colon Cancer Coalition was stolen earlier this month just before it was supposed to be put on display in Kansas City. But the story had a happy ending on Monday when the Kansas City Police Department tweeted that the giant intestinal model had been recovered.
Working off a tip, police officers found the colon in a vacant house a couple of miles away. It had been taken off the back of a pickup on Oct. 18, the Kansas City Star reported.
“No one in custody,” the police department tweeted.
The $4,500 inflatable colon is a 10-by-12-foot, 150-pound tunnel that people can walk through to get a visual sense of what doctors might see during a colonoscopy. The Colon Cancer Coalition, based in Edina, Minnesota, sends it around the country to health fairs and other events. It is stored at the University of Kansas Cancer Center.
“Why would someone take that?” Erin Peterson, spokeswoman for the Colon Cancer Coalition, told the Minneapolis Star Tribune. “It’s an educational tool, it has no value to anyone else.”
No information was available Monday on whether anyone would receive the $1,000 reward that was offered by the American College of Gastroenterology.
Meanwhile, the nonprofit Colon Cancer Coalition raised enough money to buy two more.
The coalition raised $860 in donations through its website before two companies, Quest Diagnostics of New Jersey and Salix Pharmaceuticals of North Carolina, contributed about $10,000 more, the Star Tribune said.
And the University of Kansas Medical Center found another silver lining, tweeting, “While it’s disappointing that it was taken, the good news is that it has raised awareness about colon cancer – and now the education can continue!”