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Homeless man finds and returns preschool's stolen bunny

, Written by Christine Pitawanich, Posted: Mon, June 9 2014 at 6:34 PM, Updated: Mon, June 9 2014 at 8:35 PM

Rogue River, Ore. -- He was lost, but now he's found! A bunny taken from his family last Wednesday at the Great Beginnings Preschool in Rogue River is now safe.

The case of the stolen bunny, named Amos, blew up on social media. It even got its own hashtag on twitter...#freeamos.

On Monday morning, Amos was found and he was delivered right back into his kids' arms.

"We missed him so much," said 3-year-old Ella Bale.

"Somebody taked him," she explained.

"They didn't know all about sharing," added Reagan Alden who's 5-years-old.

The preschool's principal Rhonda Schock said they're excited to have their rabbit back. However, they're taking extra precautions to make sure Amos isn't stolen again.

"We're having a cage made a steel reinforced cage with a padlock that will be attached to the house," said Schock.

According to the Rogue River Police Department, it was at the Rogue River Library where a homeless man found the bunny in a box, inside a garbage can.

After a little searching, NBC 5 News found Ralph Rowden, the man some people are calling a hero.

"I picked up this white plastic bag that has plastic bottles and cans in it and underneath that was that box with that bunny in it. In the trash can...that ain't right," said Rowden. 

Rowden said he knew about Amos the missing bunny, and knew right away who he'd found.

"I'm glad that they got that bunny back," said Rowden.

For his service, Rowden said he got a small cash reward. However it's a thank you card that's special to him.

"Thank you so very much for finding and returning Amos, our school bunny," read Rowden aloud.

The words were touching for a man who said he's never received a thank you card in his life.

Meantime, the kids at Great Beginning Preschool and Amos, who's no longer cooped up in a cardboard box, are thankful to be reunited.

It's still unknown who took Amos. Authorities said the search is still on for another bunny named Stewie. He has black and white markings and was stolen from the preschool back in March. There's a hashtag for him as well: #freestewie.

Fortunately someone in Portland donated another rabbit. Other people in the Rogue Valley have also said they wanted to step up to help get the kids another bunny.

If you know anything about Stewie's disappearance, contact the Rogue River Police at 541-582-4931.

Copyright KOBI-TV. All rights reserved unless otherwise stated. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without written permission.

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About the Author

Christine Pitawanich

Christine Pitawanich was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest. In 2010, she received a master's degree in Broadcast Journalism from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University in New York.

Christine also has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications from the University of Washington.

Before joining the NBC5 News team, she had the opportunity to file reports from Washington D.C. for WFFT FOX Ft. Wayne News in Indiana. Christine has also interned at KOMO-TV in Seattle.

Christine loves to ski, try new food and have fun in the outdoors.

Catch Christine anchoring weekdays on NBC 5 News at 5pm.

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