Thieves have stolen three beautiful works of art from downtown Victoria’s Madrona Gallery.
On Monday, December 26th (Boxing Day), just before 7:45 a.m. a sole thief broke into the Madrona Gallery space through its Trounce Alley entrance.
The thief was calculated in their maneuvering of the space and Brittany Lee, Madrona’s Gallery Manager believes they knew exactly what they were after.
“They had taken three inuit carvings,” Lee told Victoria Buzz. “It appears to be a targeted theft because what they went after was very specific and quick as well.”
The thief smashed through the glass door and unlocked the deadbolt to gain entry. They were dressed in baggy black clothing from head to toe with a hat and a headlamp to distort camera footage and hide their facial features.
Madrona Art Gallery in Trounce Alley was broken into on Boxing Day resulting in more than $42,000 in irreplaceable carvings being stolen. See link below for story. #victoriabuzz #yyj pic.twitter.com/o13Mmvmz4w
— Victoria Buzz (@victoriabuzzes) December 29, 2022
Upon breaking the glass and entering the space, the gallery’s alarm went off and VicPD was alerted. Police were on the scene very quickly and the Gallery Director arrived within 10 minutes, but the thief was gone after just two minutes inside the gallery, according to Lee.
The thief had large black bags and was able to carry all three carvings out of the gallery when collectively they would have weighed between 60 and 70 pounds.
“Two of the three carvings are very rare,” said Lee. “They were done by artists who have long passed away and were very important in terms of Inuit art history and their contribution to Inuit art.”
“They’re just irreplaceable.”
According to Lee, this was the first break in at Madrona in around 12 years, and only the second theft since the gallery opened its doors.
“The other break in happened around the time the gallery opened and they only took a computer from the desk, so this has a very different feeling than the first one,” Lee told Victoria Buzz.
The smashed door was replaced shortly after the break in occurred so the gallery staff can be assured the artwork displayed inside the gallery is safe once more.
In addition to replacing the door, Lee says that additional security measures are already being implemented in the gallery.
“You do the best you can but when you look at it after the fact, you think, ‘oh, okay, this is a vulnerable point and so is this.’”
“It definitely makes you re-evaluate what you had in place before and how to go forward,” said Lee.
The community has been supporting Madrona Gallery since the theft by coming by and sharing their sympathy for the gallery and the loss of three beautiful art pieces.
“With this sort of thing, I think galleries tend to keep quiet when they do happen but because of the scale of some of these items and the rarity, we ultimately want to have them back.”
“We’ve had a really great outpouring of support from the community which has made this a little bit more positive than the crummy situation that it is.”
Any piece of art that comes through the galley’s doors is insured by Madrona Gallery. Two of the pieces are owned by the gallery but are irreplaceable and one is there on consignment which Lee says Madrona will take a hit on should it not be returned.
The art gallery has put forth a reward for the pieces should they be returned in good condition. They will pay $1,000 per carving if they are found and brought back to the gallery.
VicPD currently has an open investigation into the break in and theft.
Police are asking that anyone with information on the break in, the whereabouts of the carvings or who may be responsible, call VicPD at (250) 995-7645.
To report what you know anonymously, call Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.