ST. PETERSBURG — Shuffleboard enthusiasts are up in arms about the theft of irreplaceable memorabilia from the game's historic St. Petersburg home on Mirror Lake Drive N.
Gone are eight of the St. Petersburg Shuffleboard Club's oldest trophies, dating back to the 1930s, along with a large wooden 1930s Festival of States leaderboard that carried the scores of snowbird and local players.
"I am upset. A lot of people have been upset," said Christine Page, president of the 200-member club. "Hundreds of people have shared the image of the items stolen … on Facebook to get the word out."
Page said the theft probably took place late Friday night, after a weekly event that draws about 100 to 150 players, but was not noticed until Tuesday evening during a board meeting.
The club, which dates back to the 1920s, was a popular spot for winter visitors. The weekly Friday Night Shuffle, which starts at 7 p.m. and ends at 11, draws players of all ages.
"That is when we are open to the public and we have volunteers that teach people how to play," Page said. "We get a lot of families. The first Friday of every month, we have live bands play."
St. Petersburg police spokesman Mike Puetz said entry into the one-story clubhouse appears to have been through a window. A pane had been removed and might have allowed a thief to unlatch it, Puetz said.
"There was no obvious prying or damage marks," he said.
Besides the trophies and scoreboard, the club lost copies of postcards that Page had had enlarged and framed. She is not too bothered about those.
"The trophies and leaderboard are irreplaceable," she said.
Club members have taken to Facebook, eBay and antique shops to spread word of the theft and look for the items, Page said.
"I don't think they're going to fetch a large fee," she said.
Page, who has led the club for three years, said the trophies might have been stolen by someone who thought they could sell them for scrap metal.
"Or some kid who thinks it's going to look awesome in their little apartment or somebody who actually thinks these things might be worth something," she said.
"We would like them back, whether it results in an arrest or whether they are quietly returned to us," she said.
Waveney Ann Moore can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (727) 892-2283.