About 70 signs that read “Keep Out — No Entrance — Shark Sighted Water Is Closed — Tiburón Avistado Agua Está Cerrada” were stolen throughout the Encinitas beaches last weekend (September 29-30).
“You’re stealing public property ….. please don’t take the signs,” said Marine Safety Captain Larry Giles during a press conference on September 30. Giles, from the Encinitas Lifeguard Department, was updating the media and public of the Saturday morning shark attack of 13-year-old Keane Webre-Hayes, while lobster diving at Beacon's Beach.
At the press conference, Keane was reported to be in critical condition; then on October 1 his condition was reported to have improved to serious condition.
“I felt terrible for the boy and his family,” said Gidget, a flight attendant that lives two miles from Beacon's. “I have surfed that break many times for 20 years …. [and regarding the stolen signs] they were taken as memorabilia because an incident like this has never happened in Encinitas before — I don’t think it was meant to be spiteful.”
J.P. St. Pierre, 48, owns the Surfy Surfy, Inc. surf shop which is down the street from Beacon's; he’s been surfing the area since he was a young boy. “There has never been a shark attack in this zone before,” he said. “Growing up we would see thresher sharks chasing bait fish, but in the last couple of spring and summers, we’ve had multiple sightings of juvenile great whites.”
I then asked Pierre about the missing shark signs that were posted from Swami’s Beach to La Costa Avenue.
“I don’t know of anyone who took a sign but I imagine that is a highly desirable collector's item for the home bar.”
On an eBay search for “shark warning sign,” they successfully sell from between $9.99 to $17.49 — bona fide county or city ones sell for more.
“We spent $1029.25 on the [shark] signs,” said city spokeswoman Lois Yum. “…. and the lifeguards had an additional task to do (make sure the signs didn’t get stolen).”
“We want to have those signs on hand if we have to re-establish those signs in the future,” Giles said.
“There have not been any official or public shark sightings in Encinitas since the non-fatal shark incident on Saturday morning,” Yum said. “The unified command will still patrol the area throughout the week with lifeguard boats and trucks, City of Carlsbad Police Department aerial surveillance, and county sheriff’s department support.”
On October 4, mainstream news outlets reported that Keane has been released from Rady Children’s Hospital.