Longboat Key police say that most, if not all, of the artwork that longtime Colony Beach & Tennis Resort owner Dr. Murray “Murf” Klauber reported missing was later found shattered throughout the property.
Property Manager Larry Stritzel discovered that Klauber’s unit had been broken into July 23. When he arrived at his former unit, Klauber told police he discovered more than $100,000 worth of statues and artwork missing from his former fifth-floor mid-rise unit July 23, after he went to the unit and found only the wrapping that was used to cover the pieces.
Police Chief Pete Cumming said Klauber is working with his insurance company to determine if any pieces are missing. But police believe the damage occurred nearly one week before the discovery, when vandals entered the property and destroyed property in 33 rooms in six buildings.
“He’s not even sure how much he had initially, but it doesn’t appear as if there’s a theft,” Cumming said.
Stritzel discovered the damage to other units July 17. The unknown assailant(s) entered the building by throwing a fire extinguisher through a plate glass door.
“It’s our conclusion based on additional evidence that these incidents are related,” Cumming said.
The Longboat Observer was unable to reach Klauber for comment.
Klauber said in July that the pieces were the work of artist Daniel Clayman, a close family friend who stayed with his family year after year at the Colony.
“These pieces were very, very valuable to me,” he said.
Two of the pieces had previously been in the Colony’s restaurant area, and the other three were in Klauber’s unit.
Police investigated the scene again on July 24, but by that time, the unit’s doorway had already been boarded up and it was not reopened.Because of mold in the building, the scene of the crime was considered structurally dangerous, and the scene was not investigated in the location where it occurred.
The Colony has been a frequent target for vandals and trespassers since it closed in 2010, although the destruction of Klauber’s artwork is the costliest incident to occur on the shuttered property. The Colony Beach & Tennis Association erected a fence around the property last year that police say has reduced the frequency of incidents.