"I don't think I had fully realized the impact the mermaids had until last Friday night, when one of the mermaids I had decorated, Mythical Sirena, disappeared and my phone started ringing off the hook. Neighbors, friends, strangers, business owners, and then TV stations called, all wanting to know what happened to our Ocean View mermaid. For a while, we feared it had been stolen, but the following day we were reassured that the mermaid had been taken down by the city for repairs." - Alba Bragoli
Though sturdy, mermaids occasionally suffered damage -- either intentional or unintentional -- during encounters with people and, for those outside, with the elements. In those cases, an empty pole signified a mermaid under repair at an artist's home or one of our temporary mermaid repair sites. Others waited in temporary locations -- storefronts or City Hall -- until their permanent display areas were finished or were moved at the request of a sponsor.
But, in one highly visible incident, a mermaid was stolen. Not just any mermaid, but the lovely By The Stars mermaid located at Discovery Day Care Center outside of Children's Hospital of the Kings Daughters. TV stations and newspaper photographs showed the children and their teachers appealing for the mermaid's return. Tips came into the police and, after several days, a suspect was arrested and the damaged mermaid recovered. Following a visit to the mermaid fiberglass "hospital," By The Stars returned to a welcome home celebration. Children helped to make decorations (fish and mermaids) to decorate the outside of the building, and put up streamers and "Welcome Home Mermaid" written on two walls in big letters.