E.T. returned home to SE Portland bakery after being stolen months ago

The owner of a local bakery said she received an out-of-this-world surprise Thursday.
Published: Sep. 14, 2023 at 10:23 PM PDT
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PORTLAND Ore. (KPTV) - The owner of a local bakery says she received an out-of-this-world surprise Thursday: A prized possession stolen months ago was recovered and returned.

“I always say phone home E.T., but he didn’t,” Marilyn DeVault, owner of Piece of Cake, said.

E.T. did, in fact, phone home Thursday. DeVault said the bakery’s mascot – a three-foot tall E.T. – was stolen more than three months ago when the bakery on Southeast 17th Avenue was broken into.

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“They started out with sledgehammers. They didn’t know how to use those. They came back with an SUV, and a trailer, and chains, pulled our door off, went down the street, with the door,” DeVault said. “Then they stole E.T., they stole an espresso maker, they damaged stuff.”

With every passing day, she said she was losing hope.

“We never expected E.T. to be found again,” DeVault said.

More than 45 years in business, the bakery has been in its current location for more than two decades, and so has E.T.

“He’s a part of Piece of Cake,” DeVault said. “He’s been in this bakery from the start, for at least 26 years. E.T. greets customers and loves wearing costumes.”

Thursday morning, the Portland Police Bureau’s Central Neighborhood Response Team (NRT) Bike Squad said they executed a search warrant at a house just miles away on Southeast Ankeny Street. And that’s where they found E.T. in the living room.

Authorities said the man allegedly responsible, Curtis Vanzede, was arrested. They say he had a warrant out for his arrest and is facing burglary, theft, criminal mischief, and felon in possession of body armor charges; and is a sex offender.

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The rescue was caught on camera, where officers can be seen carefully guiding E.T. back home .

“Welcome home, E.T., welcome home,” DeVault said. “It feels wonderful, just wonderful. We’re really happy to have E.T. back.”

DeVault said she found E.T. at a garage sale decades ago and believes E.T. was made to be a toy box.