Federal marshals were beefing up security Wednesday at the former Montauk home of imprisoned con man Bernard Madoff after the theft of a 4-foot-tall rusted steel sculpture off the front porch.
The flat metal sculpture, valued at $300, was the smallest in a group of three by the entrance and "an Aztec replica of some kind," said East Hampton Town Police Chief Todd Sarris.
It was among household possessions at the oceanfront property at 216 Old Montauk Hwy. that were seized by the federal government in July, along with Madoff's Manhattan penthouse and Palm Beach, Fla., estate.
The four-bedroom shingled contemporary house is on the market for $8.75 million, with proceeds from the sale of his homes and possessions to compensate victims of Madoff's Ponzi scheme. Investigators say that investors were bilked of $13 billion to $21 billion.
"The real problem with people stealing from the Madoff property is that they're stealing from the Madoff victims," said Rick Hoffman, regional senior vice president of Corcoran East End, the real estate firm handling the sale.
The property's longtime caretaker, Robert Schorr, a retired police officer, reported the sculpture missing after checking the house at 11 a.m. Saturday. He told police he'd last seen it two days earlier.
Access to the property, which has 182 feet of oceanfront, a pool and a 3,014-square-foot house, was fairly open, Sarris said. Now that may change.
"There's no restriction or gate or anything like that," he said Wednesday. "The [U.S.] marshals are back down there as we speak, making sure the house is more secure."