EFFINGHAM, Ill. (WCIA) — The Captain Statue at Lake Sara Beach Playground was stolen on Monday night.

The heavy bench that the Captain was chained to and a stack of cannon balls were also stolen.

According to the committee leader of Lake Sara Forever Tom Ryan, Lake Sara Beach used to be a popular recreational spot for Effingham County in the 60s and 90s. However, the beach eventually fell into disuse.

Volunteers with Lake Sara Forever have worked for years to repurchase the beach lease and develop a plan to enhance and preserve Lake Sara Beach. The pirate ship and fort playground were among the highlights in the first phase of the plan.

Ryan stated, “The Captain was purchased to ‘set the stage’ for the kids, not just using a slide or swing but to use their imagination as they play with their equipment.”

Ryan said the Captain is a favorite with the kids. He hopes by getting the words out there, the stolen items will be returned to the playground quickly.

Anyone who has information on the theft suspect(s) or the stolen items can contact Lake Sara Forever at info@lakesaraforever.com.

Photo courtesy: Lake Sara Forever.