Officials Worry Biscayne Bay Sandbar May Be Magnet For Pranksters

MIAMI (CBS4) -Authorities are worried a Miami sandbar cast into fame when a teenager placed a piano on it may become a magnet for pranksters.

A cafe table and two chairs — complete with tablecloth, place settings, a bottle of wine and a chef statue standing as sentry — were spotted Friday morning on the famed sandbar. Luis Espinoza, a spokesman for the Miami-Dade Department of Environmental Resources, said the furniture was quickly removed.

Authorities are concerned the sandbar — a few hundred yards east of Miami Shores — may become a sweet spot in the bay for would-be artists, pranksters and anyone else awash in the piano phenomenon.

“The bottom line is that this is completely against the law,” said Jorge Pino, a spokesman for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. “People caught doing it will be arrested.”

The table and chair replaced the baby grand piano that quickly became a worldwide sensation. The piano was removed from the sandbar Thursday, but its journey isn’t over yet.

Carl Bentulan, the Palmetto Bay resident who hired a crew from TowBoat U.S. Miami to remove the piano from the small sandbar, beat Nicholas Harrington to the job.

Harrington, a junior at the MAST Academy, had hoisted the piano onto the family boat with his dad and brother and put it on the sandbar with a plan to produce a video that would get him into college. The video never materialized, though the story of the forlorn piano crowned with pelicans on a mud flat in Biscayne Bay caught fire.

On Friday morning, Bentulan heard rumors the Harringtons wanted the piano back.

“Clearly it was discarded,” Bentulan said. “It was public domain. I did the community a service by paying to have it removed.”

Bentulan’s 10-year-old son Liam was the driving force behind Bentulan hiring a salvage company to retrieve the piano.

“On Thursday he said, ‘Please Pop, can we rescue this thing,”‘ Bentulan said. “So I said, ‘OK, how are we going to do this?”‘

On Friday afternoon, the Bentulans had the piano delivered to a house they own in Palmetto Bay, after the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission cleared it for passage.

Liam hopes to use the piano’s fame to make a difference. He envisions people from around the world writing “letters of hope” to place in the piano.

“It was left alone out there and wanted a second chance,” said Liam. “I wanted it to come back to life.”

(© 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


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