St. Pete restaurant owners will give free meal to person who stole 'sentimental cow'

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Some are calling it an 'udder' disaster after one of the iconic cows that greets diners at Harold Seltzer's Steakhouse in St. Pete mysteriously disappeared from the herd.

"It didn't wander off on its own. One of our cows, a black and white one that was in the back parking lot, had been stolen," said Harold Seltzer, the restaurant's owner.

Grainy surveillance video shows the brazen thieves stealing the cow in broad daylight on Sunday afternoon. The pair effortlessly packed the statue in their car in a matter of minutes. 

"They're fiberglass, so one or two people could lift them up and take them away," said Seltzer. "They're not as heavy as they look."

The cows are usually cemented to the ground to prevent this kind of thievery from happening. However, they were able to find the one cow that had gotten loose from her stand, making it an easy getaway. 

"At this point, we have an investigation open and we're looking to the public for any tips," said Sandra Bentil, a spokesperson for the St. Pete Police Department. 

Police said these cow-criminals could be looking at serious consequences. 

"This is grand theft," said Bentil. "The cow is worth more than a thousand dollars. It's not a small thing to take somebody's property, no matter how much it is."

However, for Seltzer, this cow holds more sentimental value.

"It's what people associate with us, it's kind of like our trademark," said Seltzer. "So, it's another member of the family that's missing."

He's taking a gentler approach, hoping to settle the beef by offering a free meal to anyone, even those responsible, if they return the cow to her rightful home. 

"No questions asked," said Seltzer. "We just want to get back what's ours and we're not looking to give anybody any heartache."

Police released an image showing an example of the decorative bovine. Anyone with information on the cow’s whereabouts can call the St. Petersburg Police Department at 727-893-7780.