Phil Luciano: Police investigate the Case of the Lonesome Leg

Phil Luciano

If you lost your artificial leg at the Casey’s General Store in Bellevue, the Peoria County Sheriff’s Department would like to talk to you.

How did it get there? Good question.

“We don’t know whose it is,” says Sheriff Mike McCoy. “We don’t have a clue.

“Obviously, we’re looking for someone with a big limp.”

The Case of the Lonesome Leg began Saturday night at the Casey’s at 6124 Plank Road. That’s when the limb suddenly appeared on the ground next to Casey’s gas pumps.

I’ve heard of people paying an arm and a leg for gasoline nowadays, but this is ridiculous.

“The girl on shift didn’t know what to do with it,” says Matt Nelson, 37, who got the lowdown on the lost leg when he got to work at Casey’s the next day. “So she put it behind the counter.”

The leg sat there until Monday night until it started to annoy the Casey’s manager, Amanda. She didn’t want to give me her last name. Just Amanda. Maybe in Bellevue, she’s like Cher and Madonna — only her first name is necessary.

Anyway, she told Nelson she didn’t want prosthesis around anymore.

“I had him dispose of it,” she says.

Just then, Nelson spotted a sheriff’s deputy drive up to Casey’s, apparently to get coffee or something. Nelson handed the limb to the deputy, saying, “Some guy is going to come hopping in, looking for this thing.”

The deputy dutifully transported the limb to the Sheriff’s Department. As with all found property, it was tagged and placed into the county’s evidence lock-up.

Nelson, who lives in Bellevue, says he knows of no one bereft of one artificial leg.

“There are only two guys in Bellevue with prosthetic legs, and all their limbs are accounted for,” Nelson says.

Further, no missing-leg reports have been filed with the Sheriff’s Department. As the sheriff says, “We think this is one of those cases where someone would know it if was gone.”

Then again, there are a lot of 4 a.m. bars around that area. Maybe the leg got misplaced during a bout of late-night carousing, and no one can remember exactly what happened.

So, perhaps you’re wondering, “Hey, maybe that’s my leg! But I’m not sure.” Well, here are the details:

It’s a left leg, of Caucasian color. The foot (also artificial) is wearing a size-12, lightweight outdoor shoe, the kind you’d wear if paddling a canoe or walking on a beach. The shoe is black and slightly muddy.

The leg also might be military-issue. Its metal ankle post is marked “USMC,” indicating a possible connection to the Marines.

Sheriff’s investigators will be contacting area military organizations to see if any current or veteran personnel are missing any fake body parts. If that legwork (sorry) proves fruitless, they’ll try to contact the manufacturer.

Meanwhile, if this leg belongs to you, call the Sheriff’s Department at 697-8515. Or, just walk — er, hop — over there.

“Come in and get it,” says the sheriff.

But you have to prove it’s yours, just like Cinderella.

“It’s gotta fit,” the sheriff says.

Phil Luciano is a columnist with the Journal Star. He can be reached at, 686-3155 or (800) 225-5757, Ext. 3155.