Hot on his trail: New leads in the hunt for former New Jersey mascot Perfy

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RINGWOOD -

Earlier this week, News 12’s Brian Donohue set out to find New Jersey’s long lost mascot Perfy – a costumed character that was part of the “New Jersey and You. Perfect Together” tourism campaign during the 1980s.

Perfy had disappeared over the years and many state officials had little-to-no recollection of the character or what may have come of him.

But soon after the story aired, a man contacted News 12 New Jersey stating that he had a lead on Perfy’s whereabouts.

So Donohue headed up to Ringwood to meet with a man named “Trader Mike” Stefanik – an interesting character who speaks the Lenape Native American language and lives in a 150-year-old home that features taxidermy and hot dog-eating turtles.

Stefanik told Donohue that while working as a supervisor with the New Jersey state Division of Parks in the early 1990s, he personally packed up the Perfy costume and stored him in a place known as “The Potato Cellar.”

RELATED: Have you seen me? News 12 searches for former NJ mascot 

“Anything that goes in the Potato Cellar, it’s said it don’t never leave,” Stefanik says.

Stefanik describes the cellar as a place at Monmouth Battlefield State Park where state workers would stash anything that seems worth keeping, but had no place to go -- like governors’ old desks, old firefighting apparatuses and even a rocket that was used to deliver airmail.

“This is a national treasure. This is New Jersey's national hidden treasure. This place is amazing,” Stefanik says.

Stefanik says that he last saw Perfy back in the ‘90s in a bag on top of one of the old governor’s desks.

Unfortunately when Donohue traveled out to the Potato Cellar, he discovered that it was locked.

A spokesperson for the state Department of Environmental Protection told News 12 that they looked for Perfy in the cellar, but didn’t find him. They also said that the structure is too unstable to allow a reporter inside. Donohue says that he plans to ask them to look a bit harder using Stefanik’s specific instructions about where he last saw Perfy.

The hunt for New Jersey’s mascot continues.

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