The body of a young great white shark, likely hit by a boat, appeared on the shore of northern California on Friday. Vandals ripped off its dorsal fin and removed its teeth.

The shark’s body washed ashore in Live Oak in Monterey Bay, roughly 60 miles south of San Francisco. Surfers and residents noticed the 10-foot-long great white near Santa Cruz Thursday evening, according to the San Francisco Chronicle Saturday.

In between the time it took for first responders from Pelagic Shark Research Foundation (PSRF) in Santa Cruz to reach the dead amphibian, the carcass had been whisked off to sea. Its body later returned to the shore where vandals defaced it before officials could remove it. 

Damaging a shark’s carcass is illegal in California, Sean Van Sommeran, director of the Pelagic Shark Research Foundation in Santa Cruz told the Chronicle. He suggested the vandals coveted the shark’s fin and teeth as souvenirs, rather than for poaching purposes.

"As a researcher and conservationist, that's valuable data," he said Saturday, adding that authorities are homing in on the identities of the suspects.

The shark’s exact cause of death will be concluded over the weekend by experts at the USGS Western Ecological Research Center. Scientists performed an autopsy on the carcass to determine the cause of death.

Based on what appeared to be propeller lacerations, Van Sommeran surmised that a boat might have collided with the shark, causing its death.

"This is a very rare occurrence in Santa Cruz," said Van Sommeran. "And that it's happened twice in the same season is twice as unusual."

This wasn’t the first time this year that officials discovered a shark along the California coastline. In April, a female white shark, about the same size, washed up on a Santa Monica beach.

The injured shark had been trapped near Pleasure Point the evening of April 7. A group of people gathered to watch the struggling shark as it flailed about in distress. It attempted to get loose from the shallow reef but could not.

Vicious waved hindered the shark, preventing it from freeing itself. The shark had been visibly injured and bleeding, according to reports.

Resident Mark Shwartz witnessed the shark fighting for its life, during a routine walk. Several people tried to help the shark but they couldn't free it. 

"At first, I didn’t know what it was. I thought maybe it was a dolphin," Shwartz told the Santa Cruz Sentinel April 7.  "When I got close, it was clearly a shark. It was flailing and there was a photographer at the water. I bet he got some interesting photos.

“I don’t think there was anything that could be done to save it," Shwartz continued. "Something was wrong. I don’t know if it was injured or sick."

The shark reportedly died on April 8. Scientists discovered its body and researchers suggested it died from a nervous system infection or a hook may have gotten caught in its mouth, according to report in the Chronicle