In search of one missing desiccated human toe

A thief took advantage of a five-finger discount and walked off with one of Dawson’s most famous toes.

A thief took advantage of a five-finger discount and walked off with one of Dawson’s most famous toes.

The distinguished digit — the centrepiece to the Downtown Hotel’s sourtoe cocktail — disappeared late night June 17.

For decades, patrons have come to the hotel bar in Dawson City to down a shot of hard liquor — usually whisky — complete with a severed, desiccated, human toe in the glass. To successfully complete the challenge the drinker’s lips must touch the toe.

Normally toes are only served between 9 p.m. and 11 p.m. usually by Toe Captain Terry Lee.

On the night in question the alleged thief came in after hours.

“This guy came in, it was after midnight, it was after regular hours,” said general manager Adam Gerle. “One of the new bar staff said she would do it for him. We sometimes do that if it’s not too busy.”

The culprit had apparently been joking about his plans to take the toe before he even did the shot. After downing the liquor he walked out with the toe.

Gerle said staff didn’t see him go.

“They didn’t realize he had taken it until he was gone. He was making jokes about stealing it before he did the shot and then a couple of the witnesses said they did see him leave with it. But the actual staff didn’t see it.”

The captain, for one, is hopping mad.

“We are furious,” Lee said in a statement. “This guy asked to do the toe after the 9 to 11 p.m. Toe Time hours and one of the new staff served it to him to be nice. And this is how he pays her back. What a lowlife.”

The thief is described as a man from Quebec with a French accent.

Gerle estimates the hotel has about five spare toes. The one that has gone for a walk is either a second or third toe, he said. The hotel doesn’t have any big toes in stock right now.

In 2013 a visitor made national news when he swallowed one of the big toes and paid a $500 fine. The fine has since been increased to $2,500.

“We had two (big toes) when that guy swallowed one and the other one, after a certain amount of time, we retire them,” Gerle said.

Getting new toes is not an easy task.

Gerle said some people have agreed to bequeath their toes to the hotel.

“We have people who say that (they’ll donate their toes) in their will but fortunately they’re still with us,” he said.

“Others, people have had medical procedures and asked the doctor if they could have their toe, but the hospitals haven’t been releasing toes lately.”

In a statement the hotel says it “fully intends to fine and charge this individual unless the toe is returned safe.”

RCMP gumshoes are likely to have a leg up on tracking him down.

In what Gerle described as “one of those Darwinian moments” the man left behind his certificate — complete with his name — congratulating him on finishing the cocktail. Bar staff also have his Visa bill from an earlier visit.

All of that information has been passed on to police. Yukon RCMP have confirmed that they are investigating.

Anyone with information is being asked to call the Dawson City RCMP at 867-993-2677.

Contact Ashley Joannou at ashleyj@yukon-news.com

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