SANTA FE (KRQE) – It stood 25 feet tall, greeting customers looking to get some new wheels. Turns out, someone wasn’t looking for a new car, but a giant hamster.
The Kia Soul hamsters have become a big hit for the South Korea car manufacturer. So much so that Kia of Santa Fe credits them for a boost in sales.
“Kids really enjoy it. People are able to see it from a distance and it definitely drew traffic in,” Vanessa Harvey with the dealership said.
Harvey is talking about a 25-foot-tall inflatable hamster.
“It was the cool one from the commercials,” Harvey said. “It had a little hat and it was throwing a little peace sign.”
One customer said it was amazing how tall it was. “I couldn’t get over it, it was like two stories tall.”
But then earlier this week, the giant rodent was gone.
“This is where the hamster was located,” Harvey said, pointing a row of Kia Souls. “We’ve since put a vehicle there. It was tied to this blue pole here as well.”
Harvey says someone cut the straps and took the hamster while it was deflated.
“We had a lady who bought a Soul last week who came back and said, ‘What happened to the hamster?’ Maybe they thought it was cute or funny to take it.”
The prank has put the dealership down almost $5,000.
“It’s an expensive piece of marketing material that we had and we would like it back because were the only one in the area with it,” Harvey said.
They’ve also seen a slow-down in sales since the giant hamster disappeared and she can’t help but wonder, why steal it?
“Whoever does have it, I assume they don’t have much use for it,” Harvey said. The pump that inflates it was locked away inside.
Santa Fe police are investigating, but for now, the trail is cold.