By Paige Dickerson
Peninsula Daily News
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Forks Chamber of Commerce officials think it was an overly-zealous fan who pinched the chrome gas cap off Bella's pickup a few weeks ago, said Mike Gurling, Forks Visitor Center office manager.
"We are guessing some fan wanted an extra special souvenir," he said.
The pickup is on display at the center as an example of what Isabella Swan, the famed heroine of the quartet of fictional Twilight books, would have driven around Forks, where the novels are set.
The books have drawn droves of fans to the town, Gurling said.
More than 1,000 people showed up for the Sept. 13, 2008, Stephenie Meyer Day in honor of the author of the books.
The date was selected as Bella's birthday.
Twilight and sequels New Moon, Eclipse and Breaking Dawn spin the tale of star-crossed lovers Bella and Edward.
Bella, a 17-year-old girl who moves to Forks to live with her father, the town's police chief, falls in love with the teen vampire, Edward Cullen.
Where's the gas cap?
The chamber hasn't pursued the culprit but would be interested to know where the cap ended up and why, he said.
The chamber heard rumors that the gas cap had been placed on the Internet auction site eBay, but it is no longer listed there, if it ever had been.
The pickup was purchased and donated by a group of Forks business people headed by Bruce Guckenberg, who owns Sully's Drive-In.
The 1952 Chevrolet pickup was spray-painted red and towed to sit in front of the Visitor Center.
"It had one of those old-style chrome caps," Guckenberg said.
Gurling said the chamber is hoping to replace the gas cap -- not that the pickup needs it, since the engine doesn't run anymore.
The reasoning is more aesthetic, he said.
The removal of the screw-on gas cap leaves a hole on the passenger side of the pickup.
"Now we wish we would have written something cryptic in there about if someone stole our gas cap," Gurling said.
"We'd like to get a new one, but we're not really sure where to do that."
The pickup is set up as a photo opportunity for fans of Bella, and on Stephenie Meyer Day, it served as a centerpiece for the festivities.
The office stays busy even in the off-season.
A fairly constant stream of visitors still come in every day -- many of them drawn by the books, Gurling said.
Just keeping up with all the visitors have kept the group from looking into getting a new gas cap for the pickup, he added.
If you know of the gas cap's whereabouts or have a replacement cap to donate, reporter Paige Dickerson can be reached at 360-417-3535 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.