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Acting Senior Sergeant Matt Scoles, of Dunedin, said the tourist broke into the gallery in Moray Pl and spent several hours looking at the art works.
In the process of breaking in, he dropped his wallet in the gallery, and after some investigation, police were able to track the 19-year-old down to a youth hostel in Stafford St, Acting Snr Sgt Scoles said.
The young man was delighted to have his wallet returned, until the arresting police officer asked him: "How do you think I got it?"
Nothing was taken from the gallery, but the tourist had been charged with burglary, Acting Snr Sgt Scoles said.
"Apparently, he couldn't wait for the gallery to open."