By Marcy Norton and Cleve Bryan

VENTNOR, N.J. (CBS) — It’s a mystery at the Jersey Shore.

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Police in Ventnor, NJ are trying to find out who owns an unusual item found on the boardwalk last November.

An officer found the dark-colored, clay or plaster bust perched on the boardwalk, far past the end of the summer season.

“Nobody on the boardwalk, nobody around — just sitting there,” says Doug Biagi, the captain of the Ventnor Police Department.

Biagi says they have no idea who it depicts.

“It’s probably a patriarch of a family or somebody in the family who had significance to the people that did the sculpture,” he said.  “There’s no brass placard on it, there’s nothing that distinguishes who the person is. That’s why we believe it was in a family’s personal collection,” he told KYW Newsradio today.

Biagi thinks the bust may have been stolen and discarded.  He says it may belong to someone who closed up their shore house last fall and hasn’t been back yet to find the bust missing.

“We know this belongs somewhere. We want a family member of [the person depicted]… we want this to go back where it should,” he said. 

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Police have put up fliers, but so far, no luck. They even put a picture on Facebook, which received some comical feedback about who the sculpture looks like.

“Luca Brasi, right there,” Biagi says, pointing to one post.

They also got some useful tips about the piece, including that it was done by someone who was classically trained and was likely painted over clay or plaster. The only inscription is “Hilda ’72.”

Eyewitness News asked around the shore town, and people are baffled.

“I certainly want to know what it’s all about,” says Joann Levin. “Why it’s happening, and where it’s from, and who it belongs to.”

“Very strange…never heard of anything like it,” agrees Mike Shor. “Keep checking with my friends — nobody knows where it belongs.”

Police say that because the sculpture was found in the middle of the boardwalk with no other items, it might have been ditched after a burglary, stolen from someone’s vacation home in the off-season.

“We’re hoping that, coming into June now, that people coming to visit their second homes in the summer — somebody’s going to realize that this is missing as soon as they walk in their home,” says Biagi.

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If you lost your head — or know someone who has — call Ventnor police at 609-822-2101.