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Local dentist hopes to retrieve stolen seven-foot toothbrush

Dr. Alan Erickson shows where his seven-foot-long toothbrush used to hang, on the front of his office. - Courtesy photo
Dr. Alan Erickson shows where his seven-foot-long toothbrush used to hang, on the front of his office.
— image credit: Courtesy photo

ARLINGTON It's not quite a hole in his heart, but there is a seven-foot-wide gap at the front of Dr. Alan Erickson's office where a cherished memento used to be.

The seven-foot-long toothbrush has been a fixture of Erickson's dental practice since he mounted it on the outside of his office building in 2003, after completing a remodel, but it was stolen between the evening of June 25 and the morning of June 26, when he first noticed its absence.

"It was commissioned for me by my brother, from a shipwright in Alaska who made it in 2001," Erickson said of the toothbrush, which was made out of Alaska yellow cedar and used the head of a push-broom for its bristles. "It's become an icon of my practice. Kids love it, and a lot of patients have come in because of it."

The toothbrush had hung by chain links from the overhang in front of his entryway. Erickson suggested that a screwdriver or similar tool would be required to separate the links of the chain, and suspects that teenagers committed the theft, because of its unusual nature.

"it's not worth anything to anybody else," Erickson said. "It's got my name carved deeply into it, and it's taller than me, so anybody who saw it would know who it belongs to. It's just senseless, which is why I'm pretty sure some kids who drove by were just looking for some fun."

Erickson filled out a police report and was informed that his chances of seeing the toothbrush again were low, but he hopes that readers of The Arlington Times might spot it. Given the number of people in the community who are already familiar with the toothbrush, he hasn't given up on recovering it.

"If it's returned, I'll gladly exchange it for one that would be of more use," Erickson said. "It's funny, but at the same time, when someone steals from you, it can't help but make you a little mad.

"I want my brush back" he added, before laughing, "I can't brush my teeth without it."

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