San Francisco police keep eye out for missing 'Eyeball' mask

SEATTLE (Reuters) - San Francisco police have asked people to be on the lookout for a valuable mask depicting an eyeball wearing a top hat, an artifact made famous by an avant garde rock band, saying the artwork was stolen during shipment from a Seattle museum. The "Eyeball with Hat," worth $100,000, was one of four original masks worn by the group The Residents, police said. The mask was also worn in a photo of the band taken in front of the Golden Gate Bridge and used on the back cover of the 1979 "Subterranean Modern" album. The original photo, worth $20,000, was also reported stolen, police said. The owner of the mask and photo had loaned the items to Seattle's Experience Music Project for an exhibit, authorities said. The museum had then sent the artwork back to San Francisco via courier service when the crate they were in went missing, police said in a statement. The owner was not home to accept shipment and an unknown person with an illegible signature signed for the items, police said. Homer Flynn, co-manager of The Residents, told KNTV the items had been sent to him, and were "totally irreplaceable." "My best guess is that FedEx left it on the landing of my building and someone took it. I seriously doubt that they knew what was in the shipping box," he said. The mask is about two-feet tall and features a blue iris and white top hat. The Residents, formed in 1972, are a San Francisco-based experimental band that has released over 60 albums, numerous music videos and short films, according to its Twitter page. The identities of the band members are unknown and they perform wearing their eyeball masks. (Reporting by Victoria Cavaliere, editing by G Crosse)