Standup paddleboard aficionado Paige Bakhaus has moved from Boca Grande Tours to Cape Haze Marina and her promotions at the new job site have caused heads to turn as they round the Placida Road bend near the marina entrance.
A bikini-clad mannequin looked lifelike enough to cause double-takes from drivers as it was posed in various differing positions with different message boards from day to day near the a yellow SUV.
And then she was gone.
Bikini-clad Yolonda doing her thing before she was kidnapped.
"We had our mannequin stolen from in front of the marina (Sept. 29)," Bakhaus said. "She had gotten to be very popular very quickly with the locals, and I was being stopped everyone I went with people telling me how much they enjoy seeing her on Placida Road every day. "
Bakhaus named the ad doll Yolonda since the marina sells YOLO boards, a brand name for the oversized surfboards commonly used by standup paddleboarders.
"I have had people as far away as Sarasota tell me they have seen her and enjoy wondering what she will be wearing every day and what her sign will say," Bakhaus said.
Yolonda was left tied to Bakhaus' yellow Toyota FJ and she was taken sometime after 8:30 p.m. Most of her anyway.
"I say most of her because they didn't get away with her stand and one leg and pelvis," Bakhaus said. "As a joke we put a BOLO alert on our Facebook page."
The BOLO alert read: Our favorite employee Yolonda has been kidnapped. I let her stay out on the street past her curfew last night and when I went to get her this is all I found. Let this be a lesson to all of you never get so busy you forget to take time out for your employees. Although Yolonda has quickly become a favorite of all locals, rumor has it she was snatched by a band of restless teenage boys. Reward of a free stand up paddleboard lesson is offered for the safe return of her body parts. Please call (941) 504-1699 with any information.
Bakhaus is resigned, however, to the loss of Yolonda.
"I've already ordered Yolonda II," she said.