'Picky' and 'respectful' thief hits art studio

Examples of the type of quality paint brushes targeted during at break-in at the 100 Braid Street Studios last Friday (July 18). - Grant Granger/NewsLeader
Examples of the type of quality paint brushes targeted during at break-in at the 100 Braid Street Studios last Friday (July 18).
— image credit: Grant Granger/NewsLeader

Susan Greig is sad and perplexed by a break-in at her 100 Braid Street Studios on July 18.

Someone broke into the new studios that provides space for up to 20 artists that just opened in June. It's evident they knew what they were after. Greig said high quality paints, spray paints, brushes and equipment were taken. She estimates the art tools and supplies that were taken are worth more than $10,000.

"It's a whole lot of stuff that's good," said Greig. "They were extremely picky.

"Who was to know there were people out there that would steal art supplies."

They were not only picky they were very respectful said Greig. Even to the point of trying to bend the bars back into place on the window where the thief or thieves got in. Artwork was left in place untouched.

fingerprint cupboardThat's why Greig is so baffled. To her it's obvious there's an artist who feels it's all right to steal from other artists. She speculated it might be graffiti artists or taggers, but she isn't sure about that either.

The police fingerprinting dust remains on an artist's cupboard at the 100 Braid Street Studios in Sapperton which was broken into last Friday (July 18).
Grant Granger/NewsLeader

"I honestly don't know what kind of individuals would do this. It seems very strange," she said. "That's why it's just very sad. Artists pour their heart and soul into their work."

One young artist, Fiona Tang, lost an expensive set of charcoals. She'd just bought them as a gift for herself for graduating from the Emily Carr School of Art.

Connin Howes' new paints and brushes were taken. Jewelry maker Ingrid Tomboline had a scarce Ukrainian-made bending tool stolen from her studio. Its loss means she can't create the jewelry she was planning to make for the New Westminster Cultural Crawl Aug. 9-10.

"No one was hurt and things can be eventually replaced, but it's just a tragedy when you've got artists committed to their art and this is a setback," said Greig. "We can't let this get us."

She added the robbery actually brought the artists together to talk it over. "The support was just wonderful, the sense of community."

Greig said while she had insurance and she advised the artists to take their own out, not all of them did. A second alarm and other security measures have been taken in the wake of the break-in.

New Westminster police said the investigation continues. Anyone with any information about the incident should contact Const. John MacDonald at 604-525-5411 or call Crimestoppers at 1-800-222-8477.

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