UPDATED 03/25/11 2:09 p.m.

YORKVILLE, Ill. (CBS) — Police in southwestern suburban Yorkville are investigating the theft of 2,500 rubber ducks used in an annual charity rubber duck race.

Yorkville police confirmed that about 2,500 yellow rubber ducks were stolen from the 200 block of West Hydraulic Street earlier this week.

Police have already retrieved several hundred of the ducks and were questioning three juvenile suspects Friday afternoon.

Yorkville police Deputy Chief Larry Hilt suggests the theft “victims” were sitting ducks.

LISTEN: Newsradio 780’s John Cody reports

“Apparently, they were left in the plastic tote bins on the receiving dock in the back of the building, and they were left outside on the dock,” Hilt said.

The ducks belong to the Yorkville Citizens Police Academy, a non-profit that provides equipment and other support to the local police department.

The rubber ducks are used in the academy’s annual “Duck Pluck” fundraiser at Hometown Days on Labor Day weekend. Participants buy a duck for a few dollars. Ducks are then pulled out and the duck “owner” wins raffle prizes from local businesses. Duck races have been going on in Yorkville since 1991.

Since the toys were stolen, police have found several ducks along the roads between Oswego and Sandwich. Anyone who finds a duck is asked to return it to Yorkville, police said.

Anyone with information should call police at (630) 553-4340.

Hilt expressed confidence that the youths brought to the station will provide information leading to safe return of all those rubber ducks.

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