Now they’re equally stumped by the boulder’s mysterious return on Friday. But they’re also pleased.
“We are thrilled the Wizard Rock was returned, and are grateful that whoever took it was conscientious enough to give it back to the public,” Sarah Clawson, a ranger for Prescott National Forest's Bradshaw Ranger District, wrote in a statement, according to the Arizona Republic.
A forest employee made the happy discovery, FOX 10 of Phoenix reported.
The popular landmark, described as “a beautiful black boulder with white quartz running through it,” went missing more than two weeks ago from Prescott National Forest, the U.S. Forest Service said Monday in a news release. It was believed someone used “heavy equipment” to remove the boulder.
The disappearance sparked national media attention – and a lot of speculation about how the big rock vanished.
Now that it’s back, Prescott National Forest officials say they’re considering a new location for the rock, so visitors can see it more easily, the Republic reported.
Forest officials reminded the public that permits are required before removing rocks, trees or other elements from a natural setting.
Fox News' Stephen Sorace contributed to this story.