Information leading to the recovery of a stolen Scalzi Park bronze plaque dedicated to Stamford's very own John "Sharkey" Laureno taken in late February or early March could now net the informant a cash prize.
"When I came across the story, I thought about my son who plays baseball and has played at Scalzi Park," said local business owner Sky Mercede, who is fronting the reward money. "I'm friends with Bobby [Valentine.] We're a sports oriented family. I like to help out with things that happen in the community."
Mercede, a New Canaan resident who owns Forever Sweet Bakery at 4 New Canaan Avenue in Norwalk, is offering a $500 cash reward through the bakery to whomever might be able to facilitate a "successful recovery" of the plaque.
"I'm offering a little more than the plaque would be worth as scrap," Mercede said of his reward for the stolen memorial, valued at $5,500 but worth less to a scrap collector. "I just want to try and help get the plaque back for the park. It seems like the right thing to do."
Mercede said the decision to put up the reward was a move easy to make and hopes his actions will help set a good example for his own children and grandchildren.
"I felt bad. Laureno was awarded this plaque 25 years ago or so, and somebody stole it," he said. "He did a lot of good things and touched a lot of people. We, as parents, have to set an example for our children—whether they're athletes or not. I want my kids to do this and grand kids to do this. It's what we should do when things like this happen. People have to care. That's the real reason why I do things. I want someone to do it for me or for the next person."
Stamford Police Property Crimes Division Sgt. Peter DiSpagna called the offer "honorable."