The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

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February 19, 2013

Boat club seeks return of its stolen boat chain

CONNEAUT —  Some super-strong — or well-equipped — thieves made off with a piece of nautical history recently and the Lake Erie Boat Club in Conneaut is willing to pay for its return.

Last year, the LEBC received as a donation a 20-foot length of boat chain that had been used on the John B. Lyon, a boat that eventually sank in September 1900 in Lake Erie at a location some believe was offshore of Conneaut.

The chain was salvaged and in private hands until donated to the club. Earlier this month, the chain — stored outside the clubhouse at the foot of Broad Street — was stolen, said Clarence Baugher, LEBC vice-commodore. Making off with the chain was no mean feat, Baugher said.

“It must weigh 1,000 pounds,” he said.

The club had planned to use the chain as a decorative item, erected alongside some information about the boat that carried it, Baugher said. “We were going to use it as a fence,” he said.

Police were contacted but have been unable to locate the missing links, Baugher said. The chain was not yet been found at local scrap yards, he said. Police officers could not be immediately reached for comment on the theft.

Club members are offering a $500 reward for information leading to the return of the chain, Baugher said. “This is a piece of history,” he said.

The John B. Lyon, a cargo vessel launched in 1881, broke apart during a violent storm, a wreck that killed several crew members.

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