Something fishy is going down at popular Fitzroy takeaway spot Snappers.
In the past seven years, the front-of-shop sign advertising the fresh fish specials has gone missing time and time again.
It disappeared again on Saturday night.
While the sign had not yet reappeared, Snappers owner Craig Cooke said history suggested it would be back.
"The sign has gone missing four or five times over the seven years we've owned the place," Mr Cooke said.
"Usually we find it down the road a bit, or in a bush somewhere," he said.
On two occasions, the sandwich-board sign, made of weighty plywood, had come back with a story.
"One time it was returned by police and apparently it had been used as a ramp during a burglary of the New Plymouth motorbike shop," he said.
About a year ago, it went missing again and turned up two days later with a note attached.
"It turns out this guy had picked it up and carried it home about one kilometre," Mr Cooke said.
"When he woke up in the morning, he was in the middle of his lounge and had been sleeping on top of the sign."
Mr Cooke said the man must have been a determined type, as the shop sign weighed about 20 kilograms.
"To carry it down the road is an achievement in itself," he said.
"I'd say when he woke up he must have had one of those moments of reflection, and eventually decided to bring it back."
Mr Cooke said he was fairly light-hearted about the theft of his $600 sign but did hope to see it back where it belonged, advertising his daily catch.
"If someone just wants to drop it round the back of the shop, or out the front, that would be good," preferably with a note explaining its previous whereabouts, Mr Cooke said.
"It's interesting to see what it's been up to. It's a bit like one of those travelling gnomes."
- Taranaki Daily News
Where do you buy most of your books nowadays?Related story: Online sales final page for independent bookshop