An important part of Longboat Island Chapel’s garden went missing a couple of weeks ago, and parishioners are urging its prompt return.
A 2.5-foot-tall bubbling fountain waterfall statue made of basaltic rock has been a part of the Longboat Island Chapel for many years. The piece, a gift to the church, was dedicated to the Rev. Dr. Charles Shook, minister emeritus of the Longboat Island Chapel. It was located outside of the Chapel Fellowship Hall window.
The statue, which is made of black lava rock, contains a fountain and a water pump that are located inside the structure.
According to an Aug. 14 police report, the statue was broken off at the base, which was secured with concrete and rebar.
The statue is thought to have been stolen a week or two ago, but it went largely unnoticed until Sunday services a week ago. The statue was stolen in its entirety, so members think it may have been stolen with intentions of either using the fountain or selling it. It is not assumed that the statue was stolen as a prank or vandalism.
Because the statue was given to the church, the exact value of the piece is unknown.
In a press release issued last week, Longboat Island Chapel Office Manager Pat Joyner said, “The statue is irreplaceable and a reflection of who we are.”
It wasn’t the first statue to be stolen recently. A separate police report also stated that a Country Club Shores resident reported the theft of a $3,000 4-foot-tall bronze statue of an egret that was taken from her property Aug. 15. It’s unclear at this time if the two statue thefts are related.
If the Longboat Island Chapel statue is replaced directly, church officials say no questions will be asked. If anyone has any information regarding the statue, please call the Longboat Island Chapel office at 383-6491.