Yukon North Of Ordinary

News archive for January 11, 2013

Spate of local art thefts under investigation

Whitehorse RCMP are investigating a number of art thefts reported in the last few days.

By Stephanie Waddell on January 11, 2013 at 4:23 pm

Whitehorse RCMP are investigating a number of art thefts reported in the last few days.

Const. Christine Grant said in an interview this morning two calls came in within minutes of one another shortly after 1 p.m. Wednesday.

One was from Arts Underground beneath the Hougen Centre.

The other was from the Northern Cultural Expressions Society, with both groups reporting the thefts from their galleries.

Two masks were taken from the Northern Cultural gallery, while a ring was stolen from Arts Underground.

Thefts happen in galleries far too often, Judith Desjardins, who works at Arts Underground, told the Star this morning.

“This has been an ongoing problem,” she said of the overall issue for local galleries.

On Wednesday, she was talking to a customer when a man came in, looked around and proceeded to take something out of a case and put it in his pocket.

She and the customer confronted the man, who initially denied taking anything, but ultimately took a ring made by Matt Cook out of his pocket and give it back.

Desjardins described the man as being about five feet, seven inches tall, and very thin.

While she thought he appeared to be between 35 and 40 years old, she said others who saw him thought he appeared to be older.

It was later discovered a second ring, also made by Cook and worth about $250, had been taken.

As the RCMP continue their investigation, Desjardins said, Arts Underground will be turning over surveilance video from the new cameras that were recently installed.

The Northern Cultural Expressions Society is likely going to discuss the possiblity of introducing surveillance cameras as well, Naomi Crey, the organization’s workshop co-ordinator, said in an interview this morning.

She said in its case, a man came into the gallery three times on Wednesday, looking around.

When she asked if he wanted help on his last visit, he introduced himself.

Shortly after that, she said she was talking to a co-worker and they noticed a stand knocked over.

Taken were two masks – one created by Wayne Price, the other by Sarah Villesèche – with a combined value of approximately $3,000.

Crey saw the man making his way up to the Salvation Army.

Not wanting to accuse him, she went inside and told the woman working there what happened and that she thought the man may have taken the masks.

The woman took down her information. Crey went outside, where she saw the man open his jacket to show a friend something.

She called her co-worker and they spent time driving around, letting other local galleries know what had happened in case someone came in trying to sell the masks.

They were at the pawn shop when the man showed up on the sidewalk. Though they confronted him, he quickly crossed the street and headed to a black car, which took off.

The gallery is offering a reward in the hopes of having the pieces returned.

As Crey pointed out, the thief has essentially stolen from the artists, who pour in a significant amount of work into their pieces, which they were aiming to sell.

Along with looking at the possibility of installing surveillance cameras, Crey noted, staff will be more vigilant when customers come in.

She noted that while staff don’t want to be suspicious of those coming into the downtown gallery to look and possibly purchase the artwork, she said browsing may become more of a “guided tour” type experience.

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Jan 13, 2013 at 12:09 am

Thieves are more brazen these days because there is no price to pay for crime.

If it even goes to court, they’ll cry, I’m a junkie/ I’m a drunk/ I’m from a broken family..etc and the judge will say ‘poor thing’.. I won’t add to your problems with a sentence or punishment.. live long and prosper..at everyone elses expense.

In all of Canada, there is a over abundance of laws and legislation and a distinct lack of justice. I am sorry you got ripped off..but don’t expect justice for the perps.

bobby bitman

Jan 16, 2013 at 5:07 pm

Should not be difficult to look through the photos at the RCMP station and id the thief.  Problem is, he will not return the goods, and it is unlikely there will be any consequence whatsoever for the thefts.  It is really too bad that the thief was not apprehended by citizens who confronted him at the Salvation Army.  The police will not do much about this, sorry, but that’s the way it is.

Fed up

Jan 18, 2013 at 6:16 pm

Hmm? imagine that thieves hanging out at the Sally Anne?
Is it the first time such a thing has happened?
I heard the odd intoxicated ward hangs out there too.
Usually the folks whom visit there are outstanding and very productive citizens, why the shift I wonder?

Whatever it was it must be my fault, as I’m learning being white..I don’t belong here. Can I say sorry to said thief for my evil influences on their life…
hopefully this rarity doesn’t happen again as it may give the local S.A a bad reputation…certain it must be isolated.

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