The sudden and unexplained disappearance of two concrete memorial benches at the end of Del Mar Ave. in Ocean Beach remains very much a mystery. Both the Cappellucci family and the Story family are perplexed that anyone would steal the benches placed on public property, and of late are without any answers as to why they are missing.
As has been reported here and in other media sources throughout San Diego, the benches were removed sometime between 7am and 9am on July 8th. A spokesman in Councilman Kevin Faulconer’s office said that the Councilman and his staff have been working diligently with the San Diego Police Department to find out what happened. Faulconer’s office has confirmed with City staff, though, that the City was not involved in the benches’ removal.
“Councilman Faulconer feels terrible for the Cappelluccis,” said the spokesman. “He would like to see both benches returned.”
According to both the Cappelluccis and the Storys, the benches were legally placed at the end of Del Mar overlooking the cliffs of Ocean Beach. The benches were paid for by each family–the Cappellucci bench memorializing their son Anthony who succumbed to brain cancer two years ago, and the Story bench memorializing George Story, a former San Diego Union reporter and civil servant who passed in 2000—and were installed following procedures established by the City of San Diego. Both families say that proper permits were received before the benches were allowed to be placed.
Correspondence between the City and the Cappelluccis would seem to support that assertion. Catherine Cappellucci says that she received a phone call from Mayor Jerry Sanders’ office offering the Mayor’s support. They have also been receiving assistance from Faulconer’s office.
There is some speculation among local residents that the owner of the property adjacent to where the benches were placed may have had something to do with their disappearance.
The Cappelluccis are working with the City Parks and Recreation Dept. to obtain copies of the original permits they received when the bench was initially placed. In the meantime, U.S. Concrete–the company that made the original Anthony “Butch” Cappellucci memorial bench–has offered to replace it at no cost to the family, and the Mayor’s office and Councilman Faulconer’s office have both pledged to assist the family in making sure that the permitting for the new benches is expedited.