Purloined Porker



Purloined Porker


"Bert, Ernie and Randy Wells celebrate their reunion...The celebrated pilfered porker of Kootenai county has returned." Post Fall Tribune. April 18, 1985.

From Randy Wells: " The b & w picture is from 1985 after Bert was returned and reunited with Ernie. I looked for all of the news paper articles, but they are packed up somewhere.
The back story of the most famous pig in Post Falls, Idaho.
Annette and I opened The Corner trading Post in 1984. We had two smaller fiberglass animals, a belted pig and an appaloosa colt, which our kids named Bert and Ernie. Every morning we would set Bert and Ernie outside in front of the store and bring them in every night. Well one night we went to bring them in and Bert was gone. Someone had stolen Bert in broad daylight. The next day I posted a sign on our reader board sign that said, “Reward, Who Stole the Pig”. That afternoon a guy stopped by and asked me about the sign. He said he worked for the Spokesman Review in Spokane, Washington and I told him that I would be happy to pay for an ad in the classified section.
To my surprise the next day there was Ernie and I on the front page of the Spokesman Review with a full story about Bert being stolen and again on the front page of the afternoon addition of the Spokesman Review. From there we had write-ups in the Coeur d’Alene Press in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho and then our weekly Post Falls Tribune had pictures and an article about Bert being stolen.
API and UPI picked up the story and I started receiving phone calls from all over the country asking about Bert. It was absolutely crazy.
The article in the Spokesman Review came out on the day that our store turned one year old. Some people thought that I had planned the whole thing for the free press that we received, but I can assure you, I’m not that smart. Business went crazy, sales were way up, but I still wanted Bert back and I was irritated that someone stole him. The thief was even seen walking north on Idaho street, but no one knew who it was. Bert was gone.
A month later I received a call on a Sunday asking if I wanted Bert back. Of course I said, Yes” and he told me that I would find Bert seven telephone poles past Poleline Road on Idaho Street. I was heading out the door when Annette stopped me and said, you are not going. Call the police. This could be a set up for a robbery”.
So I called the Post Falls police who knew all about Bert, but where Bert was located was outside of their jurisdiction so I needed to call the Sheriff’s department. While on the phone with the Sheriff’s department and explaining to them where Bert was located I could hear radio conversation in the background. It was the police in Post Falls telling them that they were on the way to pick up Bert. They were actually arguing on who was supposed to get Bert. The race was on. I had asked them to stop at the store and pick me up, but they were in to much of a hurry to get there before the Sheriff’s department so they went straight for the pig.
A few minutes later I got a call from the Post Falls police letting me know that they had the pi………, um Bert, in the back seat and would be there shortly.
Bert arrived in great condition and had a note taped to his snout, which read, “Sorry I stole your pig. Everyone loves an outlaw” signed, Jesse James.
I contacted the newspapers the next day and let them know that Bert was back home. They all came for new pictures with Bert and Ernie together and that put us back on the front page of the papers again. Yes, Bert was famous, but he was really famous when Paul Harvey told everyone on his radio show that residents of Post Falls, Idaho can rest easy now because Bert the Pilfered Porker was back home at his store in Post Falls, Idaho. He said more, but that’s all I can remember.
I know at the time I was pretty mad that someone would steal Bert, but after Bert was back home I forgave the thief and would have bought him dinner and a few beers. I couldn’t have paid for all of the free advertising we got. Now Bert is retired and him and Ernie just hang out at the house and enjoy the memories.
So that’s the rest of the story and how Bert became the most famous pig in Post Falls, Idaho"




Copyright held by Hagadone Corporation. Used with permissions granted on January 4th, 2021.

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