A Thief Swiped a $70,000 Glass Sculpture From an Oklahoma Museum—Then Was Caught When He Returned to the Exhibition

The stolen artwork was small enough to fit in the thief's pocket.

Glass from the collection of Jerome and Judith Rose at their home in Atherton, California, by William Morris, Dante Marioni, Mark Abildgaard, Steve Tobin, K. William LeQuier, Hank Murta Adams, Jay Musler, and Lino Tagliapietra. Photo courtesy of the Oklahoma City Museum of Art.

A member of the Oklahoma City Museum of Art is facing a felony charge after stealing a small sculpture from an exhibition of the museum’s glass collection.

Roughly a third of the nearly 180-piece Rose Family Glass Collection is currently on view in a show of highlights of a recent donation from the children of Jerome and Judith Rose.

The thief is Christopher Lambert, who is accused of sticking a small but valuable glass artwork in his pocket and walking out of the museum.

But Lambert wasn’t done. It appears he hid the sculpture under his car tire and then returned to the scene of the crime, presumably to see the rest of the exhibition.

Fortunately, an observant employee quickly realized that it was missing from the display and sounded the alarm.

A quick review of the security footage made clear what had happened.

“We were able to identify a probable suspect. We didn’t immediately know all of the details of the theft upon discovering its absence, so of course we were concerned with the condition of it,” museum president and CEO, Michael Anderson, told local news outlet News 9.

The museum has not identified the stolen work, but it is worth $70,000, according to court records.

Even before the Rose donation, the institution had an extensive and collection of contemporary glass art.

The Roses began their collection in 1977, and, over the next 40 years, acquired work by 83 artists. Many were graduates of Seattle’s Pilchuck Glass School, co-founded by Dale Chihuly, with whom they became friendly through many trips from their home in Atherton, California.

Fortunately, it only took about a week to recover the stolen sculpture.

“Thankfully,” Michael said, “when we got it back it was still in pristine condition.”

Highlights from the Rose Family Glass Collection” is on view at the Oklahoma City Museum of Art, 415 Couch Drive, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma through January 15, 2023.


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