On Friday I posted Laurie Crouse’s heart-wrenching story. The Compo Beach bench she’d bought to memorialize her late husband was missing.
But I had faith. I was sure it would turn up soon.
So did “06880” readers.
There are many benches, on every part of the beach. “They get moved around a lot,” wrote one commenter who had lost — and then found — her family’s bench.
Westporters promised to look carefully. Some said they’d make a special trip. A few folks theorized that a storm or exceptionally high tide had submerged the one with Martin’s plaque.
I did not realize that Laurie had sat on the bench earlier this month. There has been no bad weather since.
Now it turns out that hers is not the only memorial bench that’s gone missing.
Laurie writes that her good friend Vicki Mintz lost her husband Robert last year. She bought a bench, and had it placed next to Martin’s several months ago.
It too has vanished.
So are all the others that had provided such solace on the little peninsula between South Beach and the Ned Dimes Marina.
Laurie took a photo March 3. It shows Robert’s bench (left), moved from its original spot. Martin’s bench is further back. on the right. A third bench is in the shot too, behind the people.
All 3 benches are now gone.
Vicki’s daughter investigated yesterday. She noted tire tracks on the sand
“It looks like a vehicle pulled up there,” Laurie says.
If this was an actual, premeditated theft: That’s awful. The benches are public property, sure. More importantly, they were purchased to honor people who loved Compo, and who themselves were loved.
Thieves stole more than benches. They tore out our neighbors’ hearts and souls.
Everyone does things they regret. If you’ve got the benches — or you know where they are — please do the right thing. Email firstname.lastname@example.org, or text 203-984-9635. I’ll let Parks & Rec know where and how to pick up the benches.
Anonymity is assured. Getting the benches back is more important than making sure justice is done.
In the meantime, it’s come to this: Perhaps we need security cameras at the beach. Or at least at the entrance and exit roads.
It’s pretty clear those benches did not move themselves.