The giant ice cream cone atop Johnnie's Dairy Bar — an icon to many Middlebury residents — has been stolen.
It was taken sometime after 11 p.m. on Monday, before Carmen Gianni showed up for work on Tuesday morning. Gianni is co-owner of Wolcott-based Thomas Gianni & Sons, the general contractor hired to demolish structures at the Middlebury Road site — including Johnnie's, which has since been razed. The property is owned by Wesson Oil.
The plan was to save the ice cream cone. “Everybody and their brother wanted it,” Gianni said.
Though he didn't know its value, Gianni said it was probably worth something to someone, and that there had been interest in taking ownership of it from other businesses and individuals — locally and from out of town.
The cone, and Johnnie's itself, certainly has historical significance in town. The business dates back to 1952.
"For about 56 years it was the go-to place for ice cream in town — ice cream and hot dogs and French fries," said Bob Rafford, president of the Middlebury Historical Society. "It was the place."
“That’s too bad,” Rafford said upon learning of the theft.
Asked if the historical society had considered housing the cone, he responded, "We had thought about it and I decided not to do that. It was just too big.”
The cone was about six feet in diameter, Gianni said.
Sgt. Richard Wildman said today that the department has called area scrap yards to alert them to the theft so they can be on the look out for it.
Gianni doesn't suspect the cone was taken for scrap, noting that it was cleanly cut from the roof and that the metal it was on was left behind. “They took it off gentle,” he said.
“You’d think in the center of Middlebury someone would see something,” Gianni said. “I’d be interested to see where this thing turns up.”