St. Petersburg Times
Special report
Video report
  • For their own good
    Fifty years ago, they were screwed-up kids sent to the Florida School for Boys to be straightened out. But now they are screwed-up men, scarred by the whippings they endured. Read the story and see a video and portrait gallery.
  • More video reports
Multimedia report
Print Email this storyEmail story Comment Email editor
Fill out this form to email this article to a friend
Your name Your email
Friend's name Friend's email
Your message

Barely a lead on huge missing chair

Officials say they've had just one tip since it disappeared from Bare-Lee Used Furniture.

Published February 23, 2007


The big chair is still gone.

The giant-sized deck chair was 11 feet tall, 6 feet wide and weighed 400 pounds, and it sat in front of the Bare-Lee Used Furniture store on U.S. 19 as sort of a trademark of the small, family-run, bargain-priced business. Then it was stolen sometime late Feb. 2 or early Feb. 3. Now, almost a month later, the Hernando County Sheriff's Office has no leads, according to spokeswoman Deputy Donna Black.

"We've gotten no calls," she said Wednesday.



But the store still has a $1,000 reward for any information leading to the return of the thing.

"It's an 11-foot chair," manager Noelle Williston said at the store. "Someone knows something."

Her dad owns the business. Her cousin built the chair. It cost $700 to make and technically was on sale for $1,200, but mainly it was used as a marketing gimmick, Williston said.

Bare-Lee Used was the so-called "little store with the big chair." Now it's just ... a little store.

The only tip came in a call to the store a couple days after the chair disappeared. A woman who didn't identify herself said she had seen it in the back of a dirty white pickup truck heading east on State Road 50. She said she hadn't taken down the plate because she figured someone had bought the chair and was taking it home.

A dirty white pickup truck with no plate information isn't much of an identifier here in Hernando.

The comments posted at the bottom of the story on the Times' offered a theory or three:

Fee-fi-fo-fum .... anyone called jack in your vicinity?

Was Shaquille O'Neal anywhere in the area at the time?

i'd stake out weight watchers meetings until i spotted a person with a 6 foot wide butt. crime solved

Or not.

A reporter's check on eBay on Wednesday afternoon showed 128 "big" chairs for sale. There were also 24 "huge" chairs. There was even one "gigantic" chair.

None of them looked like the one that sat in front of Bare-Lee Used.

"It's made of wood," said Black, the sheriff's spokeswoman. "That could mean fire - or a deck."

The folks at the store saw footprints and tire tracks. Williston thinks it was kids.

"They probably just loaded that sucker up," she said.

"Some kids could've put it in the woods somewhere."

The woods?

"In Spring Hill, when you're 16," she said, "there's not much to do."

Williston's fiance was going to paint the chair in "vibrant, Disney colors," she said. Her cousin was going to build another one and then a big end table to put between the two. Now that's the next project.

Maybe they'll chain the new stuff to the fence or the ground.

"You don't think somebody's going to steal an 11-foot chair," Williston said. "It's not like you can hide it, and you're not going to put it in your living room."

Michael Kruse can be reached at or 352 848-1434.

Fast Facts:


Have you seen this chair?

If so, call the Hernando County Sheriff's office at (352) 754-6830.

[Last modified February 22, 2007, 22:44:22]

Share your thoughts on this story

[an error occurred while processing this directive]
Subscribe to the Times
Click here for daily delivery
of the St. Petersburg Times.

Email Newsletters