The alleged theft of a piece of fabric art from the
Lakes District Museum on Monday is just the second time in 25
years anything has been taken from the Arrowtown-based
museum, director David Clarke says.
Senior Constable Beth Fookes, of Arrowtown, yesterday
released CCTV footage of the woman alleged to be responsible
for stealing Alison Naylor's one-off, handmade piece, valued
at $625, at 4.32pm on Monday.
Mr Clarke told the Queenstown Times staff had not
noticed the piece - uninsured by the museum - was missing
until yesterday morning.
The fabric art, part of the ''Upstream of the Herd''
exhibition, had been hung using rods and attached to the
display room wall. Mr Clarke said the rod remained propped up
against the wall.
Queenstown police want to hear from anyone who can help to
identify this woman, who allegedly stole a piece of fabric
art from. Photos supplied.
''I thought someone [from the staff] had taken it [the
artwork] off, but no.''
Mr Clarke said the museum's cameras linked directly to the
Arrowtown police station and were reviewed immediately. The
cameras showed a woman - who was wearing a ''bumbag'' and
carrying a large handbag - touching several of the pieces on
display ''to see how they're attached'', Mr Clarke said.
It was alleged that the woman, after spotting Mrs Naylor's
work, ''stuck her head around to make sure no-one was
watching'', lifted the piece from the wall, removed the rod
and placed it against the wall and then ''rolls it up quite
slowly and puts it in her bag'' before casually leaving the
museum through the front doors, he said.
CCTV footage tracked her walking down Buckingham St towards
the Jade and Opal Centre.
Queenstown textile artist Alison Naylor with a piece of
work similar to the one that went missing from the Lakes
District Museum on Monday.
It was possible she had then boarded a tourist bus.
''It makes me annoyed,'' Mr Clarke said.
''We've been running exhibitions since 1992 and it's the
first artwork ever to be stolen ... you just don't expect
somebody to steal, a, from a museum and b, steal artwork.
''We've got a dog stealing bread, people stealing signs and
trying to smuggle them out of the country and now this.''
While the quilting group normally had a representative at the
museum every day for the exhibition, it did not on Monday.
Museum staff at the reception desk were dealing with other
customers at the time of the incident, he said.
Mrs Naylor had remained upbeat about the incident, saying,
''At least she had good taste.''
The only other time the museum had been targeted by thieves
was about 1990 when an early sea pistol was ''stolen to
It was before CCTV cameras had been installed at the museum
and the pistol, which had been in a locked cabinet, was never
recovered, Mr Clarke said.
Despite the theft, Mr Clarke said the museum's security
system was appropriate.
''We're alarmed at night and we've got good security - that's
evident by the fact that only two things have been taken in
Snr Const Fookes said the distinctive artwork was comprised
of bright orange and blue fabric.
Anyone with information is asked to contact the Queenstown
police on (03) 441-1600.