Leaping lizards; geckos stolen in Bradenton

11:50 PM, Apr 21, 2010   |    comments
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Bradenton, Florida -- Got gecko? Bradenton police would like to know after someone stole 4 giant geckos that are supposed to be auctioned off on May 1st. The works of art were designed by local artists for GeckoFest 2010.

"I have to admit there were a couple of tears at first because there was just so much work that's gone into this," said Jayne Kocker, the chair of GeckoFest 2010.

Kocker says the 6-foot long geckos were stolen from a storage facility in Bradenton sometime between Tuesday April 13th and Friday April 16th. She asked 10 Connects not to identify the storage facility for fear of someone else trying to break-in and steal some of the remaining geckos. "This is a felony. They're valued at $1,500 a piece."

More than 60 hand painted geckos were made for this year's GeckoFest. Almost half have been pre-sold with the others scheduled to be auctioned off.

Kevin Webb, an artist who designed one of the stolen geckos says he was upset about the crime. "Because the proceeds from the sale of these go to good causes; they go to purchase supplies for art classes in the public schools, so I was indeed upset," he said.

A report has been filed with Bradenton PD but so far they have no suspects or witnesses.

Kocker says she'd be happy if the geckos were returned and is not sure why someone would take the lizards. "None of use are paid, we're all volunteers and it just feels like a violation," Kocker said.

GeckoFest is offering a $400 reward for the return of the geckos.

The stolen geckoes were called "Gwen Tangle Zentangle," Let Go My Gecko," Thelonius Geck" and the "Geico Gecko."

Preston Rudie

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