WATERVILLE, Vt. (AP) – Thieves stole a valuable antique weather vane from the top of barn and replaced it with a replica, Vermont State Police said.

The theft was the fourth time in three years that an antique weather vane had been stolen in Vermont.

The weather vane was the image of Black Hawk, a famous Morgan horse. Elaine and Dennis Thomas, who own the barn, noticed a difference in the weather vane on July 16.

“My husband said he thought the tail wasn’t right and then my daughter said something was wrong with the tail,” she said. “I looked up, and I screamed ‘That’s not our horse!”‘

The missing weather vane also had a small bullet hole.

“My husband’s grandfather shot a .22-caliber bullet through the mane of the horse when he was 16,” she said.

Police recently sent out press release about the case because they have been unable to find the man hired to paint the barn before the weather vane was stolen, who is considered a “person of interest” in the case.

“We’re at a standstill,” Vermont State Police Trooper Lance Burnham said. “We have no witnesses and no evidence.”

In a similar case, an antique weather vane of a cow was stolen from a barn in Tunbridge and replaced with a replica. That case has not been solved.

“There’s no doubt in my mind that it was out of state by the next day,” Burnham said of the Thomas’ weather vane. “This is not some prank.”

Antique weather vanes have become more valuable in recent years. A weather vane from a Rhode Island train station recently sold for $1.2 million.

The Thomases are offering a reward for the return of the copper and zinc weather vane, which they estimate is 150 years old and may be worth at least $9,000.

“We never thought about its value. It was just part of the barn,” Elaine Thomas said.

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