UPDATE: NANDO'S have confessed it was them who stole Bowen's Big Mango.
In a media release the company said they would like to thank the people of Bowen.
"The disappearance of Bowen's Big Mango has generated quite a lot of attention over the last day or so… and we confess… Nando's was behind moving the three storey high, ten tonne tourist attraction," the media release states.
"Nando's would like to thank the people of Bowen for being good sports about us 'borrowing' their beautiful mango.
"We promise we're taking good care of it and it will be returned to its rightful position soon(ish)."
But the reason for the removal is still unknown.
"All will be revealed as to why we did it this Friday morning… stay tuned."
BOWEN'S Big Mango has been found, just hours after tourism officials denied its disappearance was part of a publicity stunt.
It has been confirmed by a local crane company that Bowen's mango was removed and was part of a publicity stunt.
The big fruit was found by a local resident who was bushwalking - about 500 metres from where it was originally positioned.
The story of the disappearing mango featured across Australian media and even provided fodder for UK tabloids.
But the fact that Queensland Police said they had not received a formal complaint sparked speculation it was all a hoax.
The community has taken to the Daily Mercury's Facebook page throwing in their theories.
Hayley Bowditch has blamed it on Clive Palmer.
"Maybe Clive Palmer needed some dinosaur eggs and painted it, saving him some cash because times are tough," she posted.
Kylie Norton said she thought maybe Mackay Regional Council stole it.
"Did Mackay City Council steal it as they want something big now too like Townsville's Croc?" she said.
Trish Catelli said it would be chutney by now.
Lyndell and Michael Bonnici said they have been speaking to their contacts at Punch Bowl.
"I spoke to Trent from Punch Bowl he's making a big fruit salad he's got the mango, orange, pineapple and the banana all he needs is the big apple but he doesn't know if customs will let him bring it in from America," they said.
Others don't mind where it went as long as it returns the right way up after being placed upside down for many years.
"Maybe it will reappear the right way up?" Leo Scott said.
"Maybe put it the right way up this time," Kim Woodhead said.
Earlier on Tuesday, a senior tourism figure insisted the mango disappearance wasn't a clever marketing ploy.
Daryl Hudson, the destination marketing manager for Whitsundays Marketing and Development, said the search for the giant mango was continuing.
"We have put the word out. As you can imagine, the big mango is very important for the community. We haven't received any leads at all," he told Seven's Sunrise program.
When asked whether the theft was legitimate or an elaborate ruse, Mr Hudson didn't provide a direct answer, Fairfax reported.
Earlier, an advertisement was posted for the big mango on Gumtree.
Sometime Monday afternoon the ad appeared offering the 10 tonne Mangifera for just $300.
"Looking to sell a 10 metre mango," the ad reads.
"Only selling because i don't use anymore as i have a perfectly good Giant Pineapple statue."
The reported thieves said they were willing to swap the 10m tall mango for a giant banana or kangaroo.
Tourism Bowen released CCTV footage of the 'thieves' at work in the early hours of the morning stealing the town's beloved tourist attraction.
A BOWEN Police spokeswoman said they are not currently investigating the missing Big Mango.
Bowen Tourism reported the iconic "big thing" was stolen early this morning.
But police are claiming no official complaints have been reported to them at this stage.
"We are not currently conducting an investigation," she said.
BOWEN'S famous 10m high Big Mango has gone missing.
Bowen Tourist Information Centre manager Christin Short arrived at work this morning to find the 10 tonne, $90,000 Big Mango tourist attraction had disappeared from the site where it has sat for more than a decade.
Ms Short immediately called Bowen Tourism Chairman, Paul McLaughlin, thinking it may have been moved for repairs. However, Mr McLaughlin said there had been no planned maintenance work for the popular tourist attraction.
Mr McLaughlin responded to the call and inspected the site to find the iconic fibreglass structure had indeed been unbolted and removed overnight.
It is unknown for what purpose the Big Mango was taken and no one has yet claimed responsibility.
Bowen is the mango producing capital of Australia and the Big Mango was erected in 2002 as a tourist attraction.
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