Iconic Starke County Native American Sculpture Damaged

damaged statue 2An area general merchandise and surplus store says one of its iconic business draws has been vandalized.

Richard’s of Toto says that on the night of July 29th, video evidence seems to indicate that two individuals climbed the pedestal of its “Muffler Man” sculpture – a Native American fiberglass statue standing about 30 feet tall – and broke the arm. The sculpture is placed in front of the business.

Ed Ebner has owned Richard’s of Toto for 30 years. He says this particular incident hurt him, personally.

“We put a ton of money into setting it up, and painting it and so many people take pictures under it,” says Ebner.

Though somewhat rare in the modern era, “Muffler Men” were often used as advertising attractions for businesses around the country. The Native American Sculpture at Richard’s of Toto is over 60 years old and has been identified in locations across the country during its tenure.

Ebner believes the perpetrators removed the arm and carried it down the road before abandoning it. He says it’s lucky the arm was found so repairs can be made. A search is now being conducted for a fiberglass expert to restore the arm with a new coat of paint expected.

Ebner says those responsible are ruining things for a lot of other people.

“We can’t display anything outside without moving it back in,” says Ebner. “We used to be able to do that, but you can’t do it anymore. It limits the possibilities.”

Police were contacted to file a report, but at the time this article was published, Ebner said officers had not yet made a stop at the location to take down information.

Lighting and additional security will remain unchanged for Richard’s of Toto following the incident.