Renate Herberger, a North Saanich woman known as the Deep Cove Mermaid, hopes the public can help her recover this house-marker in the shape of a mermaid after she reported it stolen. Herberger’s late son had purchased the sign for her with his pocket money. (Renate Herberger/Submitted)

Renate Herberger, a North Saanich woman known as the Deep Cove Mermaid, hopes the public can help her recover this house-marker in the shape of a mermaid after she reported it stolen. Herberger’s late son had purchased the sign for her with his pocket money. (Renate Herberger/Submitted)

North Saanich woman hopes to recover stolen sign gifted to her by late son

Renate Herberger says the theft of the mermaid house-marker aims to hurt her

North Saanich’s Renate Herberger, whom many know as the ‘Deep Cove Mermaid’ says the theft of a house-marker that her late son had gifted her was not random.

“It seems to me a personalized theft, not a random theft,” said Herberger. “The people who walk the trail [near her house] all know me personally and you can’t carry that under your arm. It looks stupid because, ‘What are you doing with Renate’s mermaid?’ And some stranger wanting to go on a hike to steal it makes no sense either, and the kids in this neighbourhood, they don’t steal this kind of thing.”

Herberger describes the situation as “very odd” in noting that the sign has never come off since it first appeared. In the past, she has also been away for several months a year, only to have found the sign safe and sound in its place, untouched.

RELATED: North Saanich ‘mermaid’ prepares for fifth inlet swim

RELATED: North Saanich woman hopes missing urn turns up

Herberger said the flat metal sign in the shape of mermaid — about three feet long and 12 inches high — served as a house marker, hanging from fishing line attached to a tree at the start of the driveway leading to her house, just past her mailbox. “Everybody who walks or drives past can see it because it’s big,” she said.

By way of background, Herberger has earned her nickname for her long-distance open oceans swims around the world to raise awareness for marine conservation and to honour the memory of her late son, Silvan Skye Valeska Herberger, who died Jan. 10, 2012 of suicide at the age of 23, shortly after her first swim through the Saanich Inlet. By her account, Herberger has swam 8,448 kilometres in spots around the world.

Herberger said she first noticed the sign missing on July 24 before reporting it to Sidney/North Saanich RCMP July 27. She added that the date of the theft coincided “pretty much” with the 22th anniversary of its purchase for $23 by her 10-year-old son in 1998 when he was in Coombs, B.C. on his way home from a camping trip to Horne Lake Caves. “My son discovered it actually in a tiny little store,” she said.

As such, it holds “huge nostalgic value” for Herberger. “He actually bought it for me from his pocket money,” she said. “So it’s not the monetary value. It’s the emotional value and that it stands for who I am. I never thought that anybody would steal it, because here nobody steals anything.”

This theft is not the first time Herberger has found herself having to deal with the emotional aftermath of losing something that reminds her of her late son

In 2015, an urn containing a portion of Silvan’s cremated remains went missing from a park bench. “It’s still missing, and again, I suspect that it was a person who was trying to hurt me. People do these kinds of things. These are not random vandalism.”

Herberger said her neighbours have shown great kindness in helping to recover the sign by plastering the neighbourhood with signs. “Who knows [where it might turn up],” she said. “My hope is to get it back.”


Like us on Facebook and follow @wolfgang_depner

wolfgang.depner@peninsulanewsreview.com

Saanich Peninsula

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The construction zone remains for now at Clover Point, but plans for a new pedestrian zone and partially closed traffic loop were approved by Victoria councillors on Thursday. (Don Descoteau/News Staff)
Victoria council compromises with partial closure of Clover Point

Option preserves parking 14 spots facing ocean, creates more pedestrian space

(Black Press Media file photo)
Trees Cannabis to reignite downtown Victoria location as licensed store

The dispensary will reopen its 230 Cook St. location on Saturday

A wind warning is in effect for Greater Victoria Thursday afternoon. (Black Press Media file photo)
Strong winds predicted for Greater Victoria

Environment Canada issues warning for Thursday afternoon

Sergeant Francis Dion with the box containing HMCS Calgary’s new secret mascot costume. (HMCSNCSMCalgary/Facebook)
Don Devenney is a Goldstream Gazette 2021 Local Hero as Community Builder of the year. (Don Denton/Black Press Media)
West Shore volunteer’s efforts an exercise in adventurous pursuits

Don Devenney is the 2021 recipient of the Community Builder Award

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature. (B.C. government)
B.C. reports 10 additional deaths, 395 new COVID-19 cases

The majority of new coronavirus infections were in the Fraser Health region

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Feb. 23

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

(Black Press Media File Photo)
POLL: Are you struggling with Greater Victoria’s cost of housing?

While Victoria remains one of the most expensive cities in the country… Continue reading

Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools is preparing a rapid response team proposal for submission to the B.C. Ministry of Education. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
Nanaimo-Ladysmith school district chosen as COVID-19 rapid response team

Team to consist of SD68 and Island Health staff, according to B.C. Ministry of Education

A new survey has found that virtual visits are British Columbian’s preferred way to see the doctor amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (Unsplash)
Majority of British Columbians now prefer routine virtual doctor’s visits: study

More than 82% feel virtual health options reduce wait times, 64% think they lead to better health

Captain and Maria, a pair of big and affectionate akbash dogs, must be adopted together because they are so closely bonded. (SPCA image)
Shuswap SPCA seeks forever home for inseparable Akbash dogs

A fundraiser to help medical expenses for Captain and Maria earned over 10 times its goal

The missing camper heard a GSAR helicopter, and ran from his tree well waving his arms. File photo
Man trapped on Manning mountain did nearly everything right to survive: SAR

The winter experienced camper was overwhelmed by snow conditions

Castlegar doctor Megan Taylor contracted COVID-19 in November. This photo was taken before the pandemic. Photo: Submitted
Kootenay doctor shares experience contracting COVID-19

Castlegar doctor shares her COVID experience

Ashley Paxman, 29, is in the ICU after being struck by a vehicle along Highway 97 Feb. 18, 2021. She remains in critical condition. (GoFundMe)
Okanagan woman in ICU with broken bones in face after being struck by car

She remains in serious condition following Feb. 18 incident

Most Read