By Jano Tantongco
UPDATE (2/5/16, 6:00 p.m.):
The port lamp that was allegedly stolen from Skipper’s Pub early this week has been returned to its owner.
Paul Gallowitsch V, manager of the pub, said that Marsha Hendrickson, volunteer at the Trinity Episcopal Church Thrift Shop, found the lamp anonymously placed on the doorstep of the shop on Thursday.
The lamp was tagged for sale, and would have been sold if Hendrickson had not recognized it, Gallowitsch said. Gallowitsch now plans to re-install the lamp so that it once again adorns the threshold of the pub.
In a statement, Northport police said they are continuing to investigate incident, and ask with anyone with information regarding it to contact Detective Peter Hayes at 631-261-7500.
When Skipper’s Pub manager Paul Gallowitsch V arrived to start his shift on the night of Jan. 28, he was startled – not by something, but by the lack of something.
When he arrived to the Northport Village pub, he was shocked to discover that a bronze port lamp that has hung outside the pub for nearly 40 years had been ripped from the facade. His initial reaction was one of surprise and sadness; surprise by the fact that someone would take such a timeless piece of the pub.
He added, “I'm upset because it's been there for so long.”
“Red, right, return our light,” Gallowitsch said in an interview Tuesday, referring to the nautical phrase “red, right, returning,” used for navigating channels when returning to shore.
After no sign of the lamp for five days as of Tuesday, Gallowitsch V and his parents Marie and Paul Gallowitsch, co-owners of Skipper’s, put up a $2,500 reward for information leading to the recovery of the lamp, and the prosecution of whoever took.
“We would love to get it back because we’re sentimental about it,” Marie Gallowitsch said. “It’s like a child to us, this restaurant.”
The missing lamp measures about 2 feet high and a foot wide, and has a red lens, indicating its usage for the port side of boats. It was part of a pair of lamps -- the other sports a green lens that indicates starboard side -- that flanked the Skipper’s entrance at 34 Main St. in Northport Village.
Marie Gallowitsch said she and her husband purchased the lamps almost 40 years ago when they opened up Skipper’s in 1978.
“Everything is boat-themed here,” she said. “We wanted it to look like the inside of a yacht, that was the idea.”
Marie Gallowitsch added that the lamps were made by PERKO, a nautical hardware company with beginnings in 1907. The lamp was cradled in a teak wood, a hardwood notably used in boat-building.
“Sailors, they love this stuff. They’re very territorial about it. They’ll come and tell you if there’s a light out,” she said, referring to the nautical patrons of the pub.
Northport Village Police Department is investigating; anyone with information on the lamp is asked to contact Det. Peter Hayes at 631-261-7500.
However, Paul Gallowitsch V has done some detective work of his own. He said he believes the lamp was stolen sometime between Monday and Wednesday of last week.
Looking at the burn mark surrounding the wire hole of the electrical plate still affixed to the exterior, Gallowitsch V said he deduced that the lamp must have been stolen while the light was on, causing a short circuit. The lights run automatically, he said, turning on at 4 p.m. and shutting off at 2 a.m.
The absence of the lamp has saddened members of the Skipper’s staff.
“It’s not just a little light bulb out front, it’s an iconic part of the bar,” John Martin, a Skipper’s bartender for about four years, said. “It’s sad to hear that someone would actually take a piece of this building when it’s part of Northport.”