Iconic Native American Statue Along Thruway Knocked Down

June 6, 2012 Updated Oct 10, 2013 at 4:06 PM EDT

By WKBW News

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June 6, 2012 Updated Oct 10, 2013 at 4:06 PM EDT

IRVING, NY (WKBW-TV) - The large Indian Chief statue has stood tall greeting visitors to Silver Creek for approximately 12 years along the New York State Thruway and has become kind of a public figure.

"he's on roadside America," said Cyrus Schindler, Owner of Big Indian Smoke Shop. "People come and take pictures of him, take pictures with him."

However, early Wednesday morning a thruway worker notified Big Indian Smoke Shop owner Cyrus Schindler's family that he was not standing.
Schindler says the group knew what they were doing.

"We had the gates across in front here, they dug out the posts, it was just somebody stopped they knew what they needed," Schindler replied.

The group of vandals used a saw to cut one of the angels off, tied rope around him and then rolled him into the ditch.
State Police and Seneca Nation Marshals were on scene earlier surveying the damage.
Schindler says some tools and other items were left behind that will aid police in their investigation. He suspects the group wanted to steal him.

"If it was just vandalism they went through a whole lot of work to vandalize him they could have left the gates up," said Schindler. "They had a saw they could have cut him and he's fiberglass so they could have smashed him."

The one-thousand pound Indian does need a little surgery as you can see his hand is missing.
Schindler says they do have a second one and hopes to have it up as soon as possible.
The last time the Indian was moved it created a little buzz.

"We had him taken down before for restoration on him and people would say you got put him back up he's our landmark to when we get to the silver creek exit that we know where we are," said Schindler.