The few remaining colored pens on Blacktip Island are locked in the Caribbean island’s police station until the person responsible for a rash of colored-pen thefts has been apprehended. (photo by Wendy Beaufort/Blacktip Times staff)
The theft of all colored markers in the Blacktip Island store Wednesday night has left many island residents questioning the culprit’s identity and motives, officials said.
“On the face of it, it’s someone’s warped idea of a joke, leaving only black markers,” store owner Peachy Bottoms said. “But it’s not funny my being out the cost of the markers and lock repair so some idiot can get high sniffing them.
“I got in yesterday morning and the door’d been jimmied,” Bottoms said. “My first thought was someone stole the cash or the safe, but those were untouched. The only things missing were colored magic markers and paint pens and colored pencils. And crayons, for when they get the munchies, I guess.”
Island officials worry the theft is part of a larger crime wave.
“This past week there’ve been reports of colored pens disappearing from homes and businesses,’ Island Police Constable Rafe Marquette said. “I passed that off as people misplacing things, but in light of this break in, I’m re-evaluating that.
“Right now, anyone wants to write or draw in anything but black is out of luck,” Marquette said. “The few colored markers left are locked up in the police station until I get to the bottom of this. The multi-colored insults on the side of the police car aren’t helping the perp’s cause.”
The marker disappearance has many residents on edge.
“This isn’t a simlpe inconvenience,” Ginger Bass said. “The kids can’t draw in anything but black and white now. You should see their blacked-out coloring books. The younger ones can’t rationalize something like that. They’re cranky. Parents aren’t getting much sleep. We’re at a crisis point here.
“Plus, the dive staffs can’t draw dive site maps on the boats without colored dry-erase markers,” Bass said. “There’s some serious safety concerns in all this, you know.”
Others maintain the thefts are an elaborate hoax.
“It makes no sense. That smacks of one of Jerrod’s artsy projects,” Helen Maples said. “He can deny it all he wants, but there are an awful lot of colorful, hand-drawn designs on the outside of that crazy house of his.
“Lots of melted-down crayons tacked to the side of it, too,” Maples said. “There’s no proof, of course, but he certainly has the motive and is hare-brained enough to do it. And leaving the rest of us with only black pens is exactly his sort of humor.”
Jerrod Ephesians denied the allegations.
“I have all the paint and markers I need. Why would I steal more?” he said. “End of the day, folks are missing something that’s essentially useless. Is that really a bad thing? It makes them see the world differently.
“There’s a lesson in all this, really,” Ephesians said. “People don’t realize how dependent they are on something until it’s gone. Blacktippers learning to do without is a positive. It makes us all stronger.”