Web Exclusive: 800 lb. stolen gorilla statue found

(CNN/WKMG) - Some monkey business in Central Florida.  A month ago, someone stole a bronze gorilla from a hotel in Orlando.  It's estimated to weigh 800 pounds and valued at five thousand dollars and it was one of two such gorillas near the pool.

On Christmas Day, it turned up in an unexpected place.  Shock, kind of the same, the questions you're asking.  Where did that come from, how did you get it here?

That was the first reaction this Guy Ryan had when he surprisingly stumbled across an 800 pound gorilla.  He says he was just walking his dog when he started growling.

"It was here, back up in all those vines," says Ryan, who found bronze gorilla.  So how in the world did this giant bronze statue get here? "Our only thought is somebody has a pickup, came flying back with a pickup, and just slammed on the brakes to slide it off.  Unless there were multiple people or they were big, because like I said, it's heavy."

So with the help of a friend - he says they pulled it out.  "Just grabbed it, grabbed two ends, and just started sliding it and sliding it across, it was pretty easy to slide on the leaves and everything," says Ryan.

And just like that, with the help of a dolly, he says they dragged it here, to a friend's apartment not far away at the towns of Southgate complex. "I came home and a gorilla was at my front doorstep," laughs Giovani Alba. 

That friend was Giovani Alba who says it wasn't until three weeks later that he realized it had been stolen. "I woke up this morning and I went online and I went to gorillas stolen in the area, nothing came up and went to bronze gorillas and next thing you know, it was on channel 6," says Alba.

And that's when he called police.  "It's $5,000 you know, people may call me stupid for not going to a scrap yard and getting $2,000 or whatnot for it, but in this case, it just belongs back to the hotel," says Alba.

AND AS FOR THE TIMING OF IT ALL ON CHRISTMAS DAY? "Of all the days to get it back of all the days to have him find him on Christmas Day, so that's cool," says Ryan.

Hotel workers were planning to pick up the statue today to take it back to the hotel.  There's no formal reward for finding the gorilla.  But a bartender at the hotel has promised a round of drinks.



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