German police have launched an investigation into the disappearance of a peculiar phallic-shaped sculpture from a mountainside in Bavaria, local media say.
The two-metre tall (6.5ft) wooden statue was apparently chopped down over the weekend, the Allgaeuer Zeitung newspaper reported.
The statue stood for years on the Grünten mountain, south-west of Munich.
Now, all that remains of the monument is a small stump and some wood chips.
It is not known who originally carved and erected the sculpture, which has become a landmark on the 1,738m-high (5,702ft) Grünten mountain, attracting many hikers to the area.
Even online map service Google Maps had recognised the sculpture’s status, designating it as a “cultural monument”.
No-one knows how the 200kg (440lbs) sculpture was hauled up the mountain either.
One theory, reported by German media, is that the sculpture was an unwanted birthday gift, carved by a group of young men as a practical joke for a friend. When the present was rejected, they pulled it up the mountain on a sledge, leaving it for others to appreciate.
The monument, which was placed on the mountain four or five years ago, had been left mostly untouched but came to the attention of police after reports of its disappearance over the weekend.
On Monday police in the Bavarian town of Kempten said they had opened an investigation, according to German news agency dpa. But they are not sure what they will do if a culprit is found.
“We don’t know whether it is a criminal offence or not,” police spokesman Holger Stabik told Allgaeuer Zeitung.
He said police would also have difficulty determining who the injured party in the case might be, as the statue has no clear owner.
The mayor of nearby Rettenberg, Nikolaus Weissinger, said the disappearance of the sculpture was “a shame”.
Mysterious monuments have been making headlines worldwide in recent weeks.
A 12ft (3.7m) metal monolith found in the US state of Utah caused a stir last week, prompting speculation and intrigue over its origin.
Against the advice of local authorities, dozens of internet sleuths visited the object, as the nation embarked on a guessing game as to how it got there.
But no-one claimed responsibility for the sculpture, and before long, it had gone missing.
Utah’s Bureau of Land Management said it had seen credible reports the object had been removed “by an unknown party”. A pile of rocks and a small piece of metal were all that was left behind.