An original piece of artwork by Rosie Laponder, was stolen along with various art supplies from Julie Ann’s Art and Custom Framing in Chilliwack on Nov. 28, 2020. (Submitted image)

An original piece of artwork by Rosie Laponder, was stolen along with various art supplies from Julie Ann’s Art and Custom Framing in Chilliwack on Nov. 28, 2020. (Submitted image)

Thieves steal original artwork, art supplies from Chilliwack store

‘It kind of makes you sick to your stomach,’ says store manager

A pair of thieves took off with an original painting by a Chilliwack artist Saturday morning.

A man and woman took their time moving around Julie Ann’s Art and Custom Framing shop, and made their big move when staff was busy with legitimate customers.

Kathy Leger, store manager, says nobody working even noticed what was happening at the time. But when they realized the artwork was gone, they watched their surveillance video.

“She was handing things to him, and he was stuffing them in his rather large jacket,” Leger said. “They made sure staff was busy with customers.”

The man then took the artwork off the wall and the walked out the door, while the woman hung back in the store for a few minutes.

They didn’t take a lot, and they didn’t take high-end supplies, she explains. But to take a piece of someone’s artwork is something more than just theft. The staff has watched the video over and over again, on their own and with the RCMP.

“It kind of makes you sick to your stomach,” she said. “It’s a total violation.”

The work was created by Rosie Laponder, and is 16” by 16” on canvas. It is a close-up image of a woman with a large hat and bright red lips.

Based on the video, they also made off with a couple of art sets, and some individual pencils.

The staff at the art store is hoping someone knows something and will return the art to the owner. In the meantime, they are hiring someone to walk the floor of the little shop and be the eyes and ears while employees help customers.

“This is something we’ve never done before but now we feel we have to,” Leger said. “I still like to think the best of people, until they prove me wrong.”

Anyone with information is invited to call the Chilliwack RCMP non-emergency line at 604-792-4611.

READ MORE: Chilliwack RCMP offer tips to thwart car thieves


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