(Taste of Country) – After a week apart, Willie Nelson and his armadillo have been reunited, and the critter is officially ‘on the road again.’ The band’s unofficial (and dearly loved) mascot was stolen following a Sept. 19 concert, but was finally returned unharmed Friday morning (Sept. 27).
The singer made the exciting announcement on Facebook. “Ol’ Dillo is on his way home! Thank you to all of our friends and family for helping track him down,” the legend wrote. “Thank you Capital Theater for having an amazing staff and hunting down clues. Lesson of the week: Only cowards steal from another person, don’t be a coward!”
Ol’ Dillo, was a gift from a fan at a show in Jackson, Wyo. and has been traveling with the band for three or four years, according to Nelson’s publicist, Elaine Schock. After a show in Port Chester, N.Y. at Capitol Theatre, the mascot was snatched up by a woman who was caught on camera, launching a nationwide hunt for the armadillo.
Not only did the Port Chester Police Department open an investigation, Texas Roadhouse, a chain of steakhouse restaurants, offered a $1,000 reward for information leading to the critter’s return. Plus, throngs of Nelson’s fans posted condolences (and unprintable threats against the thief) on the country star’s Facebook page.
When you take a man’s armadillo, it doesn’t go unnoticed.
Tom Bailey, the Capitol’s manager, told the Journal News, “The artists who play at the Capitol Theatre, we try to treat them like family, and no one messes with our family.” He also said he and his co-workers have identified the thief involved and have banned her from future performances at the Capitol.
Apparently, all the hubbub must have scared her out of holding onto the critter. On Sept. 27, someone (Bailey did not describe the person, but said it was not the suspected thief) walked up to the theater and handed a sealed box to the attendant working at the box office. Inside, with his signature blue-glitter hat still fixed to his leathery head, was Ol’ Dillo.
“Everyone is relieved and delighted to be able to get the thing back to Mr. Nelson,” Bailey said, adding that Nelson decided not to press charges. Instead, the ‘Always On My Mind’ hitmaker added another message to his Facebook page, simply quoting the Dalai Lama: “Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.”