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Colony plagued by vandalism, break-ins; $100K in sculptures stolen from Klauber

STEVE REID
Editor & Publisher
sreid@lbknews.com

Murf Klauber

The long-time Colony Beach & Tennis Resort home of former Colony Chairman Murf Klauber was burglarized and artwork and statues valued at about $100,000 is missing according to Longboat Key Police.

A visibly upset Klauber went to the Longboat Key Police Station and filed a report Thursday, July 24 detailing the glass doors on the first floor where the burglars gained entry, the missing sculptures created by artist Daniel Clayman from his 5th floor unit 502, and the damage and general vandalism to his property.

Further investigation reveals that more than 30 Colony units have been entered illegally in recent weeks and several have been severely vandalized.

On July 17, Longboat Police investigated smashed sliding glass doors, wooden doors kicked in, broken artwork, smashed tables, pried-open storage areas and destroyed cabinets. The suspects also left two flat screen televisions outside unit 18.

Police photographed a sneaker footprint as evidence, but could not retrieve latent fingerprints due to heavy rains.

 

First major theft

According to Property Manager Larry Stritzel, the sculptures stolen from Klauber’s unit is the first time a large amount of valuable property has been taken.

Sculptures shown above are by Daniel Clayton and for representation; not actual stolen objects.

Klauber said since the Colony has closed and he has relocated, that he has used the unit for storage. Klauber said went to the property Thursday to move a large and valuable desk that he giving to his son and Michael’s on East restaurant owner, Michael Klauber. That is when he was shocked by what he found.

“I walked in the living room and the sculptures were gone. They had great meaning to me,” Klauber told Longboat Key News. “The artist, Daniel Clayman, is a good friend and he and his wife and family stayed for years at the Colony and I started collecting his work. It is heartbreaking. I was in shock.”

Property Manager Stritzel said it appeared that the thieves might have thrown a fire extinguisher through a door.

The entire Colony property – all 232 units and restaurant and spa and amenities ¬– has been closed and nobody is allowed to reside on site or use the property.

Klauber, who lived in his unit in the midrise building for more than 40 years, also occupied for the same duration a unit he used as an office on the next floor. Klauber collected art and was one of the last to move off the site, as he was the only full-time resident on the 18-acre property.

Klauber’s unit is infiltrated with mold as a result of months and months of no air conditioning. So much so that Longboat Deputy Police Chief Frank Rubino said his officers were instructed to not enter the unit and mid-rise as it is deemed a biohazard due to the mold concentration.

About two years ago, an inspection was done and there was mold present and the supports on the fourth floor holding the pool in Klauber’s unit were corroded. Due to the structural issues, the building was red-tagged by the Longboat Key Building Official. The Longboat Key Fire Department personnel have an order to not enter that building even if it catches fire due to structural compromises. They would fight the fire from solely outside the building said Fire Chief Paul Dezzi.

If further investigation of the crime scene is to take place, Deputy Chief Rubino said the Town could call in the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, which can enter the site to investigate using HAZMAT gear.

Rubino said Klauber gave photos of the scene, the damage as well as the stolen sculpture and that police detectives will be contacting area pawnshops. Rubino said the Town does patrol the Colony site, and this is the first instance of large-scale theft. Rubino also said the police will check all security cameras from neighboring properties.

“These sculptures are not just something you walk down street with,” Rubino added.

The Town of Longboat Key Commission required last spring that the Colony Association erect an 8-foot fence around the perimeter of the property to secure the site, help offset liability for anyone who wandered on the site and to keep any debris contained.

The fence was installed, but the Town did allow existing fencing that was lower to be utilized. It is the six-foot high fence bordering the tennis court on the Ten-Con property to the south that property manager Stritzel believes is the vulnerable point of access where two individuals have likely gained entry to the Colony property.

“In order to get in the Colony property they would have to get over a fence,” said Stritzel.

Stritzel said he thinks two individuals have been going on the property in the late afternoon or early evening and systematically went through the entire property.

Stritzel and the Association received permission and are right now adding additional height to the six-foot fence to raise it to eight feet. Security cameras are also going to be installed along the property perimeter as an added measure.

The property has not yet been formally boarded up with plywood to protect the contents and deter entry.

“In about a week it will be like Fort Knox,” Stritzel said.

 

 

 

 

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6 Responses for “Colony plagued by vandalism, break-ins; $100K in sculptures stolen from Klauber”

  1. Be says:

    I do not understand why the association wants to stand it up when it would be less costly to tear it down. If I was an owner _________________?

  2. Georgie McFarland says:

    Raising the height of the fence surrounding the Colony will not keep vandals out. What is needed is around the clock surveillance by a security service along with cameras to record any activity around the perimeter of the property.

  3. Jocelyn says:

    I agree with Georgie. Who would leave expensive artwork in a building full of mold and decay!

  4. concerned citizen says:

    I’m suprised he didn’t claim he had the Mona Lisa in their too.

  5. Sam says:

    And who actually “owns” the property within the common area of a foreclosed property in bankruptcy?

  6. Georgie McFarland says:

    Why would anyone leave artwork valued at over $100,000 in a vacant building with no around the clock security to protect themselves from unwanted intruders?

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