By DON STINE
Two separate investigations into the theft of about six tons of copper panels from Asbury Park’s historic Convention Hall have officially been closed, which now allows boardwalk redeveloper Madison Marquette to be paid its claim for the loss.
Acting Police Chief Anthony Salerno said earlier this week that both the city’s police department and the state’s Division of Criminal Justice have officially closed their cases.
“[Madison Marquette] can and should report their claim to the appropriate insurance company,” he said.
The city’s Historical Society had recently looked into the matter and discovered, with the help of state Assemblywoman Mary Pat Angelini, that the state case can only be closed on the recommendation of city officials, which was done last week..
Madison Marquette officials said they cannot be paid for their insurance claim until both cases are closed.
“As to the state’s investigation into the copper panels, we have not yet received notification from the state that the matter is closed, but we’ve reached out requesting formal documentation so that we may move ahead with our insurance carrier,” said Carrie Turner, Madison Marquette’s boardwalk general manager.
Turner said that there is an ongoing structural investigation at Convention Hall that may also affect replacement of panels.
The stolen 27 ornate copper panels, original to the 1929-era building, are each about 5.5- by 16-feet in size, about 1/8-inch thick, with each weighing about 450 pounds, or a total of more than six tons. Their scrap value is estimated at as much as $60,000.
Local and state police have investigated the theft twice but come up with no viable leads. The panels were removed to conduct a structural inspection of Convention Hall.They were stored in the vacant Sunset Avenue pavilion, from which they were stolen.
Madison Marquette reported to the police that the panels were stolen on Aug. 2, 2011 but did not announce publically they had been stolen until 2012.
Madison Marquette officials publically announced the theft during a city technical review committee meeting on March 22, 2012 after a city official requested information on the panels.
Convention Hall is on both the state and national Register of Historic Places.
Featured photo: File shot depicting Convention Hall with the copper panels.