Vancouver police are investigating the theft of a $24,000 bronze sculpture that was pilfered from a West Side art gallery early Monday morning.

According to Vesna Zaric with the Petley Jones Gallery, the piece was kept outside the Granville Street gallery’s front entrance at the top of a short flight of steps.

“After Marino Marini,” by artist

“After Marino Marini,” by artist


Because the statue, which is more than a metre tall, weighs close to 113 kilograms (250 pounds), Zaric said the gallery had never suspected anyone would try — or be able — to steal it.

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“Just a few weeks ago we wanted to have it on an indoor display for another show we were setting up, and we could not move it,” she said.

“We never really suspected that being here, and having these stairs and having that weight of a sculpture [there] would ever be an issue for anyone to attempt to pick it up.”

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The piece, titled “After Marino Marini,” depicts an abstract human form riding a horse. It was sculpted by Vancouver artist Fahri Aldin, who is known internationally for his painting and sculptural work, Zaric said.

She said she’s concerned the thief may have stolen it for its value as scrap metal.

“It would be a horrible idea to take it for scrap,” she said. “It’s a unique piece, and there will never be another one made like that.”

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Security video captured by a neighbouring gallery depicts a man dragging the statue out of the gallery entrance, loading it onto a dolly, then towing it around the corner and through a nearby parking lot.

Zaric said no one at the gallery recognized the man.

Vancouver police confirmed they had opened a file into the theft, but said they had not interviewed the gallery owner yet.

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