CHATHAM – Again, one of the Sharks in the Park – now the Sharks on the Lawn of the Eldredge Public Library – has been stolen, just two weeks before an online auction of the artwork is slated to end.
The Chatham Real Estate's shark was painted by artist Heather Labbe. Another shark painted by Labbee, sponsored by Minglewood Homes, was taken from Kate Gould Park in June but found in a nearby parking lot.
The shark painted by Labbe last year received the highest bid in an online auction of the five-foot painted predators, earning $2,600, according to Janice Rogers of the Chatham Merchants Association.
On Friday Rogers was reviewing video from surveillance cameras to see if it held any images of the thieves. She was also planning to review security footage from a camera at the nearby Cape Cod Five Cents Savings Bank; the stolen shark had been located on the bank side of the library lawn.
“Their cameras are aimed right where they had to be standing when they took the poles out,” she said.
There is a reward for information leading to the return of the shark. Anyone with information can call the Chatham Police anonymous tip line at 508-945-8847.
Rogers said the shark appears to have been taken on July 30. The metal poles used to anchor the shark were found in bushes on the bank side of the library property, “seriously bent” from the effort of removing the shark from the poles, she said.
“It's very discouraging,” Rogers said of the theft. Last summer two sharks were also taken but both were recovered. The group is discussing with police further security measures that can be taken in future years, she added.
“Somebody knows where it is,” she said, appealing for help in tracking down Labbe's shark.
Meanwhile, online bidding for the sharks ends Aug. 19 at 12 p.m. Along with more than 40 sharks, there are several painted “Boats in the Park,” signs and a replica of the Chatham Lighthouse and Coast Guard Station up for auction.
As of late last week, almost all of the sharks had bids. The highest bid was $2,050 for Tilda McGee Bystrom's shark, sponsored by Mahi Gold. It's a two-sided shark, with one side depicting Chatham's Main Street during the Fourth of July parade (featuring Mahi Gold's float, of course), and the other showing Lighthouse Beach from the water.
Other top bids were for Rich Benson three-dimensional, rather fierce looking shark sponsored by Cape Cod Colonial Tables, which was going for $1,800 as of late last week. The Mayflower Shop's shark, with art by Rustic Marlin, was up to $1,500. Tilda McGee Bystrom's shark for the Cape Cod Five was going for $1,350. Steve Lyons Gallery's shark, with art by the gallery owner, had a high bid of $1,100. The shark created by Chelsie Starace's pottery class at the Creative Arts Center, sponsored by Adorn Cape Cod, also had a bid of $1,100.
Of the non-shark up for auction, the highest bid was for the boat sponsored Kinlin Grover and painted by Pati DuVall, which is a homage to “The Finest Hours.”
Proceeds from the auction are used to fund Merchants activities, including a scholarship. Half the money goes to the artists.
Go to sharksinthepark.net for more information and to submit bids.