An attempted theft of a helmet-misplacing Buffalo icon…or one anonymous hero’s brave effort to bring a tree-carved Thurman Thomas to safety across the Canadian border? The Buffalo News’ Gene Warner provides the details after the Bills’ horrific 6-3 loss to Cleveland on Sunday.

A Fort Erie, Ont.-area man called Therese Forton-Barnes, the Carvings for a Cause founder, early this afternoon to say he had the roughly 8 1/2-foot-tall tree carving of the former Buffalo Bills running back.

“They weren’t necessarily looking to steal it,” Forton-Barnes said. “They apparently thought we had forgotten to get it.”

The person armed with the tree carving, who talked briefly with The Buffalo News on the condition that he not be named, said that other tailgaters had poured some charcoal from their grill on his face after Sunday’s game.

“We decided we’d rescue it,” he said. “At the time, it seemed like a good idea.”