Tyler Christensen posted a surveillance camera image showing the stick-fingered thief lift the $500 piece off the wall of The McMillan Bar and Kitchen. Rather than call police, he shamed the thief on Facebook in the hopes of having it returned. The crook’s accomplices paid the artist the price of the piece.

A sticky-fingered art thief has been social-media shamed after he plucked a painting off the wall from an Arizona restaurant.

Local artist Emma Gardner was hanging “The Raven II” at The McMillan Bar and Kitchen in Flagstaff as part of a First Friday Artwalk in the city June 9 when the original piece, priced at $500, was lifted from the wall.

Rather than call the cops, bar owner Tyler Christensen found the crime in action on surveillance tape and posted the still image, along with a letter beginning “Dear Thief,” on the restaurant’s Facebook page.

“We enjoyed having you as our guest up until the moment you decided that the art we had on public display would look better in your private collection,” Christensen wrote. “I’m sure you were aware that this artwork is for sale, and could have been yours, all the artist and myself ask is that you fairly compensate the artist for their creative work. Instead, you opted to crudely stuff the artwork in your backpack and remove it from the premises. I understand why one would covet this artwork, we did as well, which is why we put it on public display.”

The letter, which has been reported on by local news stations, went viral, with some 4,500 likes and more than 8,100 shares by Wednesday evening. The pressure got so intense that the thief’s accomplices, seen in the image, donated $500 Tuesday to pay back Gardner, The Arizona Sun reported.

Christensen said he doesn’t want to get the thief arrested — he just wants the painting back.

“The cash is kind of beside the point,” Christensen told the Sun. “I was entrusted with her art, it was removed from the wall, so I felt accountable to make sure she got it back. (The accomplices) said that they hung it on a tree somewhere and it ended up disappearing.”

Where once Gardner’s painting hung on the wall, Christensen has since placed the surveillance image as a message to the thief that he isn’t welcome in

Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/crime/arizona-art-thief-shamed-online-snatching-local-work-restaurant-wall-article-1.1835500#ixzz3592KRX4N

 

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