Police in a Cape Cod, Massachusetts town are investigating after three fake legs were placed near a memorial for the victim of a fatal shark attack last summer.
Wellfleet police told the Cape Cod Times that the fake legs were placed near a memorial stone at the town-owned Newcomb Hollow Beach for Arthur Medici, who died last September when he was bitten by a great white shark while boogie boarding.
"It is absolutely depraved. This is a very raw memory," Fran Conroy, who vacations in Wellfleet, said. "We actually felt bad watching 'Jaws' — it's too real now, it's crazy."
The items have been removed because they were in poor taste, but police said they don't know who put them there. Police said they are investigating it as "suspicious activity" but no charges have been filed.
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"He was only 26 and it is really messed up. It shouldn't happen. Period," Ava Schneider, who was visiting Wellfleet, said.
This is the third time since this spring that fake wooden legs have been left at the memorial.
Photos published by the newspaper show one of the fake legs covered in blood, while another has an "RIP" tag attached to it.
Medici, 26, of Revere, was boogie boarding off Newcomb Hollow Beach just after noon on Sept. 15, 2018 when he was attacked by a great white shark. He later died at a local hospital, becoming the state's first shark attack fatality in more than 80 years.
Witnesses at the scene told police that Medici and a friend were in the water about 30 yards off the beach boogie boarding when the attack happened.
It was the first fatal shark attack in Massachusetts since 1936, and the second shark attack of the summer. A month earlier, a 61-year-old New York man was severely injured after fighting off a shark in Truro, about 4 miles north of the Wellfleet attack.
Researchers on Cape Cod launched a new study last month focused on the hunting and feeding habits of the region's great white sharks following last year's attacks. They hope the work contributes critical information to the ongoing debate over how to keep Cape beachgoers safe.
One Massachusetts citizens group is calling for eliminating federal protections on seals, which have been blamed for drawing an increased number of great white sharks to the region in recent years.