GREENE — It’s a cow tale with a happy, if unlikely, ending.

Charlie the Fiberglas steer was rescued from Gulf Island Pond on Tuesday by three state troopers and the Maine Warden Service.

The show of force piqued a little natural curiosity.

“The (nearby) bridge construction workers were like, ‘Did you get the guy?'” said State Police Sgt. Michael Zabarsky. “‘The guy’; it’s a cow!”

The 27-year-old, life-sized mascot had been stolen from the lawn at Town & Country Foods in Greene on July 16. The store ran “Where’s the beef?” ads in the newspaper on Monday looking to get its cow back.

Office manager Danielle Petersdorf said she got two calls Tuesday morning, one from a kayaker who’d passed Charlie and another from a woman riding an ATV who had seen Charlie from the shore of the Androscoggin River.

“He was on this little island,” Petersdorf said. “Somebody must have taken a boat and took him out there.”

After the sightings were passed to police, Zabarsky said, Warden Dave Chabot brought out a Warden Service boat and asked for a hand.

“We just didn’t know how heavy this thing was going to be and what sort of dilemma was created in rescuing it,” Zabarsky said. “I should say ‘recovering’ because it’s an inanimate object. It didn’t take all four of us, but it definitely wasn’t super light.”

Police and Chabot met a Town & Country truck at the Turner boat dock for the weighty hand-off. Charlie was in perfect shape but for one scratch and a strip of blue tape.

“Whoever stole him put the tape over the hole (in its foot) so that way if it got in the water, the cow wouldn’t fill up with water and sink, so they were fairly smart, I guess,” Petersdorf said. “We’re shocked; we didn’t expect to get him back, honestly, but we’re thrilled.”

Sadly, none of it was caught on tape by “North Woods Law,” the reality show that follows Maine wardens at work.

Petersdorf spent Tuesday trying to track down the morning kayaker and ATV rider to offer them the store’s $500 gift certificate reward for Charlie’s return. After logging a few hours in his old spot by the door, Petersdorf said, the steer would be locked inside “until we have a way to secure him so he can’t be moved.”

Or moooved.

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