Police still looking for stolen art | ParkRecord.com

Police still looking for stolen art

by Jay Hamburger OF THE RECORD STAFF

The Park City Police Department, happy that a giant bronze frog sculpture was recently recovered after it had been swiped from outside the Sky Lodge, continues to investigate a string of other art thefts on Main Street.

Galleries on the street have suffered a series of cases since February, ranging from the bronze sculpture, which is valued at $15,000, to photographs that retail for $55 apiece.

The Police Department says investigators have not cracked the other cases, but they are still looking for the people involved.

The police are unsure whether the cases are connected.

"I don’t know whether it was for personal gain, personal use," says Rick Ryan, a police captain. "It is a bit unusual we would have this many this close together."

Some of the art thefts include:

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a case at Stanfield Fine Art that was reported to the police on April 6 and involved a hand-blown glass sculpture. Gallery owner DeVon Stanfield says somebody took the sculpture and put a smaller piece on the stand where the other one was located.

The stolen sculpture is valued at approximately $3,500, Stanfield says.

He is unsure when the piece was taken, but Stanfield says it disappeared at about the same time as a string of other art thefts on Main Street.

A gallery staffer discovered it was missing, Stanfield says.

a March 27 or March 28 case at Coda Gallery, where a 19-inch-tall mixed-media sculpture, valued at $1,600, was reported missing. Ryan says it had been at the Main Street-side entrance to the gallery. Connie Katz, the gallery’s owner, says two other pieces, both religious crosses valued at approximately $200 each, have also been stolen recently.

"Desperate people, probably," she says about the people who took the art.

a March 27 case at Mountain Trails Gallery, where a $2,500 painting was reported missing. Ryan says a couple was in the gallery when a staffer heard paintings banging against the wall. The staffer went to investigate, but the couple was gone and the painting had disappeared, Ryan says. The man is white, about 40 years old, tall with a medium build and has gray hair. He wore a black ski jacket with orange stripes underneath the arms. The woman is white, about 40 years old, tall and has blond hair. She wore an orange ski coat.

a March 26 case at Scanlan Windows to the World, where approximately 10 fine-art photographs were reportedly taken. The police were informed a few days later. The photographs have a combined retail value of $550.

"I felt violated, because whoever took them I had a conversation with and probably thanked him for coming in the gallery," says Debra Reese, an art seller at the gallery.

The bronze frog disappeared in the overnight hours of Feb. 21. It was returned on Monday, but the police are unsure who stole the piece. It was found in a grassy area between a sidewalk and a street in the neighborhood around the University of Utah in Salt Lake City.

The Police Department on April 30 has scheduled a presentation for galleries about preventing thefts. It is planned from 7 p.m. until 8 p.m. at the police station, 2060 Park Ave. The police plan to provide tips, show a video explaining the techniques of thieves and answer questions.

Anybody with information about the unsolved cases may call the Police Department at 615-5500 or the department’s tip line, 615-5847.