After the antique rush pump valued up to $5,000 to $6,000 was stolen on Feb. 25 or 26 the burglary got plenty of media attention, but hopes were still slim the pump would ever be recovered or returned.

MIAMI – An antique gas pump stolen sometime in the night from the historical Marathon Gas Station at 331 South Main Street in Miami has been recovered 110 miles way in Ozark, Missouri.

After the antique rush pump valued up to $5,000 to $6,000 was stolen on Feb. 25 or 26 the burglary got plenty of media attention, but hopes were still slim the pump would ever be recovered or returned.

The pump was recovered on Mar. 5 after an alert fleamarket shopper recognized the gas pump as the one stolen from the Miami station and alerted the owner of a store in Ozark, Mo.

“The owner of the Ozark Antiques Mall, which is located at 200 North 20th Street in Ozark, somebody had let him know or said they saw the pump on a Facebook post on a Miami garage sale site about it being stolen. He then, in turn, called us,” Ozark Police Sgt. Derek Hill said. “We were able to open our investigation for receiving stolen property and started putting together the pieces of who he bought the pump from and how he got it, and the different pieces and information that the suspect had to identify the pump and had used to sell it to him.”

Hill credits Ozark Police Department’s Detective Kelsey Cliffe with tracing the sale backward to identify the suspect and he says an investigation is currently underway. Hill said the suspect is local to southwest Missouri.

“It is an open investigation. We do have a suspect and we are currently seeking him. We will be submitting charges on him here, as soon as I approve the report and send it over to the prosecutor’s office. It’s a pretty solid case,” Hill said. “I will tell you, the suspect did send a photo of the gas pump in front of the victim’s station to the guy who bought it and said, ‘Hey, would you be interested in purchasing this pump?’ But we clearly didn’t know the photo was of his gas station there, that was one of the pieces that we used as facts for our case.”

The Marathon Gas Station was built as a Transcontinental Oil Station on old Route 66 in 1929 and was later purchased by the Marathon Oil Company.

Daryl Buckmaster, of Miami, purchased the building in 1999 and worked to restore the building and added three restored gas pumps before selling the station in an auction in 2016 to a Miami man.

The little white station with red and green trim was added to the National Registry of Historic Places in 1995. Its design and location, on a corner, gave it good exposure to traffic flowing down Main Street in the Route 66 hey-days, and the station continues to draw tourist traffic.

Buckmaster said, “It had been up there about a week or so and they put a hold on it until the pump’s owner could come and identify it. Of course I went too because I can identify it from a block away, I knew every little scratch and detail on it.”

According to the Miami Police report regarding the theft, an unknown suspect removed one of the three antique gas pumps bolted to the concrete in front of the station. The bolts had been removed from the two remaining pumps standing beside the missing pump.

Authorities believe the pump was stolen sometime between 9 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 25 and 8:30 a.m., Monday, Feb. 26 when the larceny was first discovered.

“It worked out good. Anytime we can get something like that returned, we’re more than happy to assist. We worked with the Miami Police Department on it with Detective Wright, and he’s been great to work with,” Hill said. “The owner of the antique store is a good guy and he knows in his business that he gets some pickers that every now and then brings something in that’s maybe too good to be true, and he’s a good guy and has a refreshing level of integrity on stuff like this.”

After the theft, the current owner removed the other two gas pumps. It’s unknown what the current owner plans to do with the pump or if the gas pump will be returned to its location in front of the gas station.

“I'm happy it's back,” Buckmaster said.

Melinda Stotts is the associate editor of the Miami News-Record. She can be emailed at mstotts@miaminewsrecord.com or followed on Twitter @MelindaStotts1.