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Klauber’s ‘stolen’ sculpture found smashed at Colony

STEVE REID
Editor & Publisher
sreid@lbknews.com

Longboat Key Police Chief Pete Cumming said most, if not all, of former Colony Chairman Murf Klauber’s glass sculptures that were reported stolen last month were recovered vandalized, shattered and scattered throughout the property.

“It looks like vandalism where everything was smashed. I believe Dr. Klauber has verified that,” said Police Chief Pete Cumming.

Whether some of the sculptures were stolen or all are broken is difficult to tell Cumming said, “but it appears they were simply destroyed.”

“We are not able to put the pieces together to reconstruct what was. Sergeant Bourke has evidence of multi-colored glass strewn throughout the property,” Cumming added.

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

Cumming said his force has investigated and made an arrest based on incidents of people coming in and out of property, but no evidence has been found linking anyone to the crime and the general vandalism that property manager Larry Stritzel has found.

The property is so contaminated with mold it makes it difficulty to process as a crime scene said Cumming. Cumming said the vandalism appears to have stopped.

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 revealed 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.

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.

Since the vandalism, Stritzel and the Association added additional height to some sections of existing six-foot fence to raise it to eight feet. Security cameras were also installed along the property perimeter as an added measure.

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