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Listen up! Giant ear stolen from shop sign

Ear today, gone tomorrow?

Apparently so.

Employees at Advanced Family Hearing say they're missing their business mascot, one of two gigantic, flesh-colored ears.

"We have two huge ears, and one of them's gone," said Amy Wylde, a self-described "hearing specialist and reporter of stolen ears."

Last week, the ear was attached to its typical spot on a sign in front of the businessat 6441 W Norvell Bryant Highway (County Road 486). But on Sunday evening, an employee noticed the sign looked a little lopsided.

On Monday morning, Wylde called the Citrus County Sheriff's Office. At first, she said, investigators couldn't believe what they heard.

"We said, "We're missing an ear,' " Wylde said. "They said, "What?' "

The missing ear is about 4 feet tall. It's fiberglass, but it's heavy, Wylde said. Other than that, it's pretty normal looking, she said. No earrings. No hearing aid.

Who would do such a thing? Was it part of a scavenger hunt? Did someone think it would be a funny prank?

The hearing center folks are curious to know the reasoning. But, really, they just want the ear back.

"No questions asked, just please return our ear," Wylde said.

They're hopeful it will be returned and may offer a modest reward, she said. It's listed on a sheriff's report as worth $950, but she hopes it won't be sold. People should be on the lookout for someone trying to pawn an oversized ear, she said.

The theft is a big loss for the shop because the ear was specially made for the center.

"It's just kind of weird, the whole thing," she said.

Employees are trying to get the word out about the pilfered body part, but so far no one's heard a peep.

Anyone with information can call the hearing center at 795-1775 or the Sheriff's Office at 726-4488.

Abbie VanSickle can be reached at 860-7312 or vansickle@sppimes.com.

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