Stolen pot-bellied pig recognized by firefighter after N. Charleston fire

Police in North Charleston say a pot-bellied pig who was stolen over Thanksgiving weekend has been returned.
Published: Dec. 1, 2022 at 4:39 PM EST|Updated: Dec. 1, 2022 at 9:37 PM EST
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NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Police in North Charleston say a pot-bellied pig who was stolen over Thanksgiving weekend has been returned.

“Piggie Stardust,” who was stolen from the Charleston Animal Society’s barn, has been returned to the shelter after the man who took her confessed, police spokesman Harve Jacobs says.

North Charleston Assistant Fire Chief Christan Rainey says firefighters were called a structure fire on Highland Terrace Drive Thursday. When crews arrived on scene, they found a “homemade travel trailer” on fire, Rainey says.

While on scene, investigators spoke with the owners who said they had a full-grown potbelly pig named Petunia and a smaller, younger potbelly pig. The fire department says the investigators took pictures of the two pigs.

Officials say it was later determined that one of the pigs at the fire scene was Piggie Stardust. The fire department notified the North Charleston Police Department, and the pig-nappers were taken into custody.

“A pig-tastrophy was avoided today because of observant fire investigators, a fire inspector who spends a lot of time on Facebook and the North Charleston Police Department. Piggie Stardust is now safe and sound at the Charleston Animal Society, happier than a pig in mud,” Rainey said.

William Arthur Panasiewicz, 30, has been charged with second degree burglary, police say.

William Arthur Panasiewicz, 30, has been charged with second degree burglary, police say.
William Arthur Panasiewicz, 30, has been charged with second degree burglary, police say.(Charleston County Detention Center)

“We are thankful that Piggie Stardust is back in our safety and are appalled that someone would violate the sanctity of this safe haven for animals by breaking in our facilities and stealing her. We also applaud the City of North Charleston emergency responders who discovered her while responding in the line of duty,” Charleston Animal Society President and CEO Joe Elmore said in a release. “We will observe and continue to monitor Piggie Stardust’s condition following the ordeal she had to suffer.”

The pig had been found as a stray at a Home Depot in North Charleston on Nov. 16. The pig was taken to the shelter for her protection and care.