Portland man offers reward for return of stolen 100-pound model boat

PORTLAND Ore. (KPTV) – More than 10 years ago, Rick Piper of Portland says his son was in high school and wanted to build a model boat of the USS Missouri, a ship that is known for its use in World War II.

Piper says that’s when they started building the ship. Now, he says it has since become a 10-foot long and more than 100-pound museum-quality model.

The man’s heart sunk when it suddenly vanished. He believes it was stolen.

“It’s a really sad day, because this became part of the family.” Piper, a member of the Portland Model Powerboat Association, said the loss is great. “Having this boat stolen is more like a kidnapping than just the theft of a model boat.”

He said many years ago when he and his son began building and ironing out the fine details, they eventually recruited the help of a local expert model craftsman, “and he took several years to build it to this level of a museum quality model.”

Often, Piper recalled he’d set the boat up on display alongside historical records that detailed its use in World War II.

Meanwhile, the actual USS Missouri is a fixture in history. It was the site of the signing of the Japanese Instrument of Surrender and marked the end of the war.

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Piper said a man who served on the Missouri once viewed the model and surprised by the resemblance, offered Piper pieces of the real ship’s wooden deck he had in his possession. One of those pieces is now embedded in the model.

“So, it’s a great loss to have the Missouri stolen.”

He said that he has informed model boat club members across the nation, and even internationally, about what happened.

“Announcing the theft of this beautiful model to help try and find this and to see if we can recover this and bring it back. It took a man years. The deck is hand-laid piece by piece. This model is like a piece of floating artwork.”

Piper is offering a reward for the safe return of the model. If you know anything about the whereabouts of the model, he encourages you to reach out to Portland police who he says are aware of the situation.