Sarah Stultz: The mystery of the missing picnic table

Published 8:45 pm Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

Nose for News by Sarah Stultz

Toward the end of last week, we realized that the custom-made picnic table positioned in the back of our parking lot off of Front Street was missing.

We have had a table at that spot for as far back as I can remember, which has given us a space to enjoy outdoors on a nice day for breaks or for a little camaraderie after work.

Email newsletter signup

We used it when we would have an annual Tribune newsroom grilling feature in the newspaper. We’d photograph our food on the table, and then when we were all done, we’d sit down as a group and taste our creations.

It’s also been a place for people to unwind occasionally after work on Fridays.

A few years ago, the picnic table we used to have became the victim of a snowplow, and one of our own employees set out to make a new one himself.

I’m not sure what type of wood he used or the type of stain he used to finish it, but that table was a beauty — and it was even outfitted with the Albert Lea Tribune on the side.

It was a treat sitting at that table to recognize our co-worker’s craftsmanship. Not to mention, it was much nicer than the old picnic table we used to have.

When I first heard that the table was gone, the thought that crossed my mind was, “How did someone lift that thing?”

It was extremely heavy, and someone couldn’t have gotten far with it without a vehicle.

With that thought in mind, our publisher even went on a walk around the neighborhood Friday afternoon to see if she could spot it in someone’s yard in the near vicinity.

But she didn’t have any luck spotting it.

We posted a message on Facebook later that afternoon to see if there was anyone out there online who might have known something. As they always say, “If you see something, say something.”

But other than lots of apologies, and talks about checking any nearby cameras, we haven’t had any luck on locating the table. We did have one offer of a local businessman who offered to help pay for a new one.

So at last resort, I turn to you now to spread the word.

If you took the table, or you know who might have it, all we ask is that you consider returning it to where it once was, and no further action will be taken.

While my co-worker I’m sure would make another table, it’s disappointing to have something stolen from us.

You can always lock your cars to protect from car break-ins, but how do you prevent the theft of a 100-plus pound picnic table?

Help us solve the mystery.

Sarah Stultz is the managing editor of the Tribune. Her column appears every Wednesday.