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Florida keys in on mystery piano

Florida has a new set of keys -- a grand piano that has mysteriously appeared on a sandbar in Biscayne Bay.

Locals from nearby South Beach have speculated about music videos or a romantic date. A filmmaker has claimed credit for hauling it to the sandbar on a barge, saying it was intended to portray the death of art. But he offered no proof.

The rumors have started buzzing in this laid-back stretch of coast, just north of the glitzy clubs and restaurants where such a piano might be more appropriate.

Karla Murray was so intrigued that she woke up Wednesday and swam about 200 yards out to the sandbar, saying she couldn't pass up the "thrill of the hunt."

She said that, when she got there, she found that the piano was damaged and charred, as if someone had set it on fire. There were no engraved messages or clues.

Nearby, rumors swirled at the Water's Edge Cafe, where owner Derek Tolmie says talk of the piano has been as popular as his crab cakes and cosmopolitans. Some said they noticed helicopters and film crews taping a famous singer.

But Tolmie dismissed the talk.

"It looked like somebody was playing the piano and someone was filming from a small boat," said Tolmie, who noticed the instrument two or three weeks ago. "No helicopters. That's a rumor."

What will become of the piano was unclear. Jorge Pino, spokesman for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, said the agency is not responsible for moving such items and the U.S. Coast Guard won't get involved unless it poses a hazard to navigation.

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