BY JAIMIE JULIA WINTERS
The $100,000 Lackawanna clock stolen from the wall of the former Pig & Prince restaurant has been located.
A Pig & Prince employee reported it missing on July 9, police said. Detectives recovered it last evening, July 18, said Sergeant Terence Turner.
“I’m happy to report that last evening, detectives were able to recover it. No charges have been filed yet, but it is still an open and active investigation,” he said.
The bronze clock is original to the building and has hung in the historic Lackawanna Train Station, the site of the recently closed restaurant, since 1913.
The clock’s location — about 30 feet above the ground — and its 300-pound weight indicates that removing it was no easy feat.
“Unfortunately that’s all I’m able to say right now, but I’d be interested to know how someone got it down too,” said Turner.
Pig & Prince owner and chef Mike Carrino recently held an auction of wares after deciding to move out of the space, which he had been leasing since 2012 from Pinnacle and Hampshire Cos. The property was recently approved for a housing and retail redevelopment by Pinnacle and Hampshire, with the condition that the train waiting area, which housed the Pig & Prince, be retained in perpetuity due to its historic value.
Carrino told Montclair Local that the clock should never have been touched.
Earlier in the week he said, police had leads on someone who was picking up items purchased from the June 25 auction.
Liquor valuing $5,000 was also taken at the same time.
Neither the clock nor the alcohol were part of the auction and were not supposed to have been removed, said Turner.
Lisanne Renner, a Montclair preservationist and historian, said the heist would take some major planning, a pretty tall ladder and unusual access to the building.
She was pleased by its return calling it part of the historic fabric of the landmark train terminal.
“Happy to announce with the faithful efforts of the Montclair PD, the clock is recovered from the thief and safe back home where it belongs,” wrote Carrino on the Pig & Prince Facebook page.
On Friday, Carrino would only say that the clock is in tact with no damage, but that the returned wine “is all ruined due to the horrible storage and excessive heat.”
Seven years ago, Carrino completely renovated the historic train waiting area building, which had housed a video store immediately prior to him taking over. The train station closed in 1981.
Carrino removed drop ceilings to reveal original chandeliers that hang from 50-foot arched sky-lit ceilings, and he exposed the original brick walls and tiled flooring. He also retained original fixtures, such as the station’s water fountain and paper cup shelves, as well as the now-non-functioning clock. He set the clock at 8:24 in memory of the date of the Pig & Prince’s opening, Aug. 24.
Brian Stolar of Pinnacle Cos. said all the existing fixtures will remain with the building. He did not comment on the clock or the future safekeeping of the historic fixtures housed at Lackawanna Plaza.