POLICE are searching for an art thief after a Sheffield gallery was hit twice in a week, losing two sculptures worth a combined £2,000.
Both thefts at the Cupola gallery on Middlewood Road, Hillsborough, occurred when the gallery was open to customers and managers think they were stolen to order.
Karen Sherwood, who owns the gallery, said the thefts must have been well organised because the items are quite large.
“This must have been someone who really wanted to steal these sculptures and there’s very little we can do about that,” she said. “They probably passed them over our back wall, this wasn’t an opportunistic theft. We think it was either to order, or someone who just wanted the artworks and couldn’t afford them.”
The first item, a figure by artist Lucianne Lassalle, entitled The Gift, went missing sometime last Friday or Saturday, May 27 or 28.
The work was on sale for £550.
The second sculpture, a glass giraffe head entitled Indlulamithi, by Bruce Marks, disappeared on Wednesday or Thursday. It was on sale for £1,400.
Ms Sherwood said: “Thefts like this are very rare because the artwork here is unique, so it is very traceable.
“We’re not sure yet if our insurance policy covers theft of this nature, but the art community has been very supportive.
“One artist even offered to donate an item so I could pay the other artists for the stolen work.
“Lucianne even said she was flattered that someone liked her work so much they would steal it! But at the same time we have to remember artists rely on these works to make their living.”
A South Yorkshire Police spokeswoman said: “Police investigating two incidents of theft from an art gallery on Middlewood Road, Hillsborough, are appealing for information from the public.
“Anyone with any information about these incidents or has any information regarding the whereabouts of the missing sculptures is urged to call 0114 2202020 quoting incident 737 of June 2 2011.
“Alternatively people can call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.”