MARBLEHEAD — The iconic “Rip Tide” sign located on the side of Pleasant Street’s Rip Tide Lounge has been stolen, the bar announced Wednesday morning on its Instagram Page. A $500 reward is being offered for anyone who returns the sign to the bar, no questions asked.
“We’re very upset,” said Jamie Ciampa, who runs the bar at the Rip Tide. “The new owners apparently were going to put it behind the bar as a tribute to us. I just really hope that it’s returned.”
The historic dive bar was put on the market in January for $1 million and will be taken over by new ownership, which Ciampa believes played a role in the theft. Though she said she can’t be certain at the time, Ciampa said that it could have been stolen by disgruntled customers that had been banned from the restaurant, high schoolers or college-aged kids playing a prank, or others who wanted a piece of one of the town’s staple bars before it comes under new ownership.
“I’m sure people want to get a piece of the Rip Tide,” she said. “My father-in-law has had it for 55 years and it was the Rip Tide years before, and before that it was Kylie’s Cafe.”
John Murphy, who works at the Rip Tide, said he believes the sign was stolen sometime between June 2 and June 5, when a customer walked in and notified the restaurant that the sign was missing.
Consisting of a drawing on wooden planks of a ship on the water with the Marblehead Light Tower to the right, the word “RIPTIDE” is carved into the wood with red paint underneath the illustration. Murphy said that the sign was bolted onto the side of the building, meaning that it would have taken a concerted effort to take it down.
“I had painted the sign about a year ago to bring it back to life because it was faded,” said Murphy. “It’s upsetting.”
Ciampa said the police were notified about the incident and are currently looking at surveillance cameras from The Beacon and other businesses in the area, which might have been able to capture the theft.
“It’s just disturbing,” said Ciampa. “It doesn’t show what our town is.”