The 16-year-old boy, whose name was not disclosed because he is a minor, lives in nearby Canton and was released by police to his parents after he admitted to stealing the scarecrow, the Cherokee Tribune reported Wednesday.
Uncle Si was one of 20 scarecrows created by students and parents as part of a contest to raise money for science and technology programs at Ball Ground Elementary School, according to a local TV station.
After the Si scarecrow was reported missing last week, neighbors spotted it sitting on a house porch at a nearby community. But before police could retrieve it, the life-size replica was moved and burned in what authorities believe was an attempt to cover up the theft, which had sparked a $1,000 reward for information on its disappearance.
"We discovered after a little investigation that a juvenile had taken it," Police Chief Byron Reeves told the Tribune. "It was nothing but ashes. It was completely gone."
Courtesy Cherokee Tribune
"The young man expressed remorse – he is sorry for what he did. It's just one of those things you can't back up and undo," Wilmarth said.
The scarecrow took more than 40 hours to create, and parents in the city of about 1,400, located north of Atlanta, said they plan to eventually remake it.