Burglars haul off more than $10,000 in works from Park City arts fest
August 16, 2016
Burglars struck the Park City Kimball Arts Festival in the overnight hours between Saturday and Sunday, stealing a variety of high-priced works, the Park City Police Department said, a set of cases that has drawn attention to the security plan in place for one of the city's most notable special events.
Mikel Archibeque, a police officer who investigated the cases, said six artist booths were targeted on a stretch of Main Street between the 500 block and the 800 block. The first report was logged at 1 a.m. on Sunday..
Archibeque said the officers who responded to the first report found nine art prints on a pedestrian trail close to lower Main Street. The suspects were gone, though, he said. Archibeque said investigators were reviewing surveillance video from businesses along lower Main Street in hopes the suspects were seen on the footage.
The Police Department said it had few leads by Tuesday morning. Anybody with information may contact the department at 435-615-5500 or the department's tip line, 435-615-5847.
One of the artists targeted was Kevin DesPlanques, a Mancos, Colo., furniture maker who designs and builds one-of-a-kind wooden pieces. He said a rocking chair that was priced at $7,500 and a stationary chair with a price of $3,500 were taken.
"This stuff takes me weeks to make. It's about six weeks of work for me," he said.
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He said the burglars closed the booth after they left. The booth was located close to the northern edge of the festival setup. DesPlanques said the suspects probably pulled a vehicle close to edge for easier access.
He questioned whether the festival-hired security on patrol overnight was adequate and said he would like more security guarding the festival if he returns another year.
Another artist who lost goods is Karen Gelbard, who makes custom-woven jackets and scarves from natural fibers and is from Pacific City, Ore. The burglars took three women's jackets ranging in price from $450 to $950. She said they tried clothing on overnight and left what they tried on but did not take strewn through the booth. Two of the jackets were size four. She said a locked desk was also broken into and the contents were left on the floor. Gelbard said an episode like the burglaries could influence whether artists attend the festival.
"They were here for a while . . . Where was the security," she said, adding, "It's a black mark against the festival that it happened."
The Kimball Art Center issued a statement on Sunday attributed to Robin Marrouche, the executive director, saying the organization was working closely with the police as the investigation continues. The statement also describes that artists must protect their works from theft during the festival even though the Kimball Art Center hires security.
"We are working closely with the Park City Police Department — and they have been deeply committed, as are we, to finding the people responsible for the thefts. By morning today, they had already discovered key pieces of evidence as well as several of the missing items," Marrouche said in the statement. "The festival contracts with a professional security company each year. Even so, artists agree that protecting their work is ultimately their responsibility. This is a rare, and deeply unfortunate situation – and one we don’t take lightly. We will continue to be proactive in working with our artists, the community and the investigators to solve this crime.”
The losses over the weekend are the worst at the arts festival since a 2012 episode that saw a $12,000 sculpture of a lion carried off during the night. The brightly colored sculpture weighed approximately 300 pounds and was six feet long. It was found, in pieces, in the Uinta Mountains more than a year after it disappeared.
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