A man has pulled off an audacious theft under the noses of the owners of a rare bronze statue valued at £40,000 from a Mayfair gallery after tucking it under a rolled-up newspaper and leaving calmly.
The work by artist Elisabeth Frink titled Horizontal Birman I dates from 1962 was stolen from the Beaux Arts gallery on Maddox Street in the heart of Mayfair. It is a limited edition piece and is inscribed on the underside with Frink 10/10. Co-owner of the gallery Patricia Singh said the suspect had been casually walking around the gallery before the theft.
She said: “He was walking around with a rolled-up newspaper and it was on a high shelf, so we rather assumed it was safe, and there was someone in the room the whole time.
“It’s to my intense chagrin, we should be more vigilant, but you learn.”
Police have released a CCTV image of a man (left) they would like to trace in connection with the theft. They believe he struck on Friday, 26 June between 17:30hrs and 17:50. The suspect is described as a white male, approximately 6ft, of medium build, with medium length greying hair on the sides. He was wearing glasses, a light blue shirt and dark suit and was carrying a black sports bag.
Detective Constable Kevin Eade, of Westminster CID said: “It appears the suspect has specifically targeted this piece and picked his moment. He took his time first browsing around the art gallery and speaking with the manager before stealing the statue. Anyone who recognises the man pictured please come forward.”
Anyone with any information is urged to contact Detective Constable Kevin Eade on 020 7321 7623 or call 101 quoting CRIS reference 6527624/15. They may also call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.