Ted Huffman poses with Flossie June 29 on the patio at Bluffton BBQ. In his hand is the note left by the thief when Flossie was returned. PHOTO BY LYNNE COPE HUMMELL

“Flossie’s back!,” Ted Huffman posted on his Facebook page around 5 a.m. June 29.

Flossie, a 3-foot-tall pig statue that resided on the patio at Huffman’s Bluffton BBQ restaurant on State of Mind Street in the Promenade, had been stolen around 1 a.m. June 25.

That day, Huffman posted a notice on Facebook, along with a photo. Part of his message to the thief read, “This priceless piece of Bluffton culture has historic roots that you are not capable of conceiving much less the fact that its origin has Oscar Frazier connotations.”

Huffman had inherited Flossie when he took over his friend’s barbeque business shortly after Frazier’s death in 2005. To Huffman, this wasn’t a simple theft; it was a senseless violation of cultural history.

After the initial Facebook post, someone told Huffman he had seen “two younger girls” who appeared to be intoxicated putting the pig into the trunk of a car.

“There ain’t nothing worse than a low-down, stinkin’, rotten, no good thief,” Huffman said. He hoped that whoever had taken the historic pig would return her out of guilt.

“I had hoped that if she turned up in a dorm room or something, someone would recognize her and say, ‘Hey, you have to take her back. You can’t steal that,'” he said.

He thinks that’s what happened.

Flossie showed up in the wee hours of June 29, near where she had been stolen. “I stayed here all night last night, and I went out early this morning to empty some trash,” Huffman said later that day. “When I walked back toward the restaurant, I happened to see something white over there (beyond the patio).” It was Flossie’s painted-on apron.

She was lying in the weeds, a handwritten note sealed in a plastic baggie dropped next to her.

The note was written in blue ink on ruled notebook paper. “I’m sorry I stole her, but I gave her a bath and she was well taken care of,” it read. “Sorry for your troubles. She’s a cute pig. My bad.”

Huffman said he is grateful for all the attention given to Flossie’s plight by locals sharing news of her disappearance on social media. At least 33 of his Facebook friends had shared his initial post about the pig being stolen. News outlets from as far away as Savannah covered the story as well.

Did Flossie’s return help restore Huffman’s faith in people? “Well, it sure restored my faith in small town people, in Bluffton people,” he said. “I really wondered if she would be returned, but I kept hoping. And the story has a happy ending.”

Now Flossie is back where she belongs, standing proud among diners at the outdoor tables. Huffman said he isn’t taking any extraordinary precautions to secure her. “I just can’t do that,” he said. “We have to trust people.”