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The hand-carved tomahawk held by the wooden Indian at Kowaliga Restaurant on Lake Martin was recovered Monday night.
The hand-carved tomahawk held by the wooden Indian at Kowaliga Restaurant on Lake Martin was recovered Monday night.

Kowaliga statue’s tomahawk recovered, Wetumpka man arrested

Published 11:57am Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Poor Ol’ Kowaliga got his tomahawk back.

The hand-crafted wooden Indian who guards the entrance of Kowaliga Restaurant on Lake Martin was robbed of the ceremonial hatchet Saturday night.

Russell Lands Chief of Security Mack Daugherty said cameras captured a man attempting to steathily steal the intricately carved tomahawk around 8:30 Saturday.

A little more than 72 hours later, Daugherty and Elmore County Sheriff Bill Franklin arrested 41-year-old Darrian Trent Johns at his home on Grass Farm Road. Johns then led Franklin and Daugherty to a fruit stand in Red Hill where the tomahawk was hidden, Franklin said.

Johns is being held at the Elmore County Jail on a second-degree theft charge.

“There were a lot of upset people, and not only from Russell Lands,” Daugherty said. “Just about everyone who came to the restaurant had photos made with the kids and Kowaliga, so in just three months, he had become part of the lake again.”

Russell Lands paid a Titus-area sculptor around $15,000 for the larger than life carving of the iconic wooden Indian that was made famous in a song by country legend Hank Williams. The carving was a key attraction at the company’s new and improved Kowaliga Restaurant, which reopened in April.

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