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The Terraces Art Gallery in Wansbeck St, where artists Kevin Murdoch, Al Bell and Sharon Murcott are based, was broken into between 6.45pm and 8.15pm.
A passer-by reported the burglary to police shortly after it was believed to have happened, and they, in turn, contacted Mr Bell, who then called Mr Murdoch.
The latter said he was dismayed at the sight that greeted him.
A glass door was smashed to gain entry, several second-storey windows were smashed, glass picture frames broken, light fittings destroyed and a microwave door shattered.
Trophies, nautical and former North Otago Club memorabilia owned by Mr Murdoch was also damaged, and broken glass was strewn around the gallery’s second floor.
Several broken beer bottles were also found, and a nautical-themed display was tipped over and broken on the ground floor.
Other items were thrown on to the street.
No artworks were damaged.
Mr Murdoch was furious and at a loss to understand why the gallery was targeted.
"It’s hard to explain. Why? That’s the big one you will always ask yourself. Have I got an enemy I don’t know about?
"But I was relieved a bit. Although it was bad, it could have been a lot worse. They could have had a field day in here."
Sergeant Blair Wilkinson, of Oamaru, said a bottle of sake was reported stolen.
Police conducted a scene examination yesterday and inquiries are continuing.