Man arrested for heist of pickle sign

A giant pickle-shaped sign was returned to a popular Clinton sandwich shop after a man stole it.

A giant pickle-shaped sign was returned to a popular Clinton sandwich shop after a man stole it and brought it on a tour of South Whidbey Jan. 10, according to court documents.

The suspect in the Pickles Deli sign heist, 39-year-old Christopher Moritz, was arrested on suspicion of theft in the second degree and appeared in Island County Superior Court Jan. 11. The judge released him on personal recognizance, but only after he is interviewed by a mental health professional.

Kim Bailey, owner of the deli, said the whole incident was comical.

“I was like, this is great advertising, but is it what we really want? Probably not,” she said.

A deputy with the Island County Sheriff’s Office was first alerted to the theft by a 911 report of a man dancing with the Pickles Deli sign at the Methodist church in Langley. The sign features a large pickle and the words “Pickles Deli.”

Soon afterward, the Langley police chief located Moritz and the sign on the beach at the First Street access. Video footage showed Moritz climbing and chewing on a wooden railing, pulling the large sign from behind a bush and then splashing around in the water, according to a deputy’s report.

The deputy arrested Moritz without incident, but then he licked the hood of the patrol car and chewed on the push bumper while in handcuffs, the report states.

Moritz told the deputy that he didn’t know why he took the sign, but admitted that he wanted to add it to the “art trail” in Langley, the report states.

The sign had been hanging on Highway 525 near the Les Schwab when it was taken. Deputies returned the sign, which was undamaged. Bailey said she and employees received calls, texts and images from residents who wondered why a man was frolicking around town with the sign.

“I’m very thankful that we have such a tight-knit community,” she said.