Stolen Giant Rubber Ducky is Found in One Piece After Town's Weeklong Search

A park ranger was investigating a suspected illegal dumping case when he discovered a deflated rubber ducky inside the black garbage bag.

A New Jersey town is able to breathe a sigh of relief after its stolen five-foot-tall rubber ducky was returned in one piece after a weeklong search effort, including a reward for tips leading to the missing mallard.

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Every year, a "Rubber Ducky Race" is held in Clinton to raise money for cancer research. In line with the festivities, an inflatable rubber duck standing more than five feet tall is blown up and anchored in the river.

But on the morning after the July 17 race, the duck was missing, according to Clinton Chief of Police, Brett Natheis.

"Well, it didn't walk away by itself," he joked.

After ruling out all possibilities of it being deflated, sunk, or blown away, the community began spreading the word of its disappearance.

A missing poster, with the words, "Have you seen this Giant Rubber Ducky?" was created. Police department and community Facebook pages started putting out pleas to find the giant inflatable. Crime Stoppers even offered a whopping $250 for its safe return.

One week after its disappearance, Natheis told a park ranger was investigating a suspected illegal dumping case, when he discovered what appeared to be the deflated rubber ducky inside a black garbage bag.

The officers then carefully transported the rubber ducky back to the police department to check it for damage, but Mayor Janice Kovach was happy to announce to, "It appears that the duck is healthy!"

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"It's in one piece, it wasn't destroyed," Natheis said. "It ended on a positive note, whether [the thieves] intended to keep it."

According to the police department, the $250 reward is still in effect and officials remain hopeful that anyone involved in the rubber ducky's disappearance will turn him or herself in.

Officials also plan to have heightened security for the duck's wellbeing in next year's race.

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