Art Thief Takes Off with Alaskan Airport’s Painting

The Alaska Native artwork that was stolen from Juneau International Airport.
Photo: Via Juneau Empire.

Airports are supposed to be among the most secure and closely guarded places in the world, but that didn’t keep a jet-setting art thief from taking off with a painting that had been on display at Alaska’s Juneau International Airport. According to the Juneau Empire, the Alaska Native silkscreen painting-on-cedar representing a bald eagle had been hanging in a ground-floor waiting area in the airport’s older wing. It was installed alongside other similar works, and had been loaned to the airport about a decade ago by local collector Richard Poor.

“In a public spot like that you might expect it to be scratched up or something, but not actually taken off the wall,” Poor told the Empire. The stolen work has been valued at $125. It was hanging alongside a similar work on loan from Poor, representing a raven.

Workers at the airport noticed the missing painting on July 24 and immediately alerted the Juneau Police Department to the theft.

“To be honest, we have a lot of travelers that come through Juneau and somebody might have seen it and said, ‘I want to have this in my home,’ or ‘I think maybe it’s worth some money,’ and to take it to a pawn shop,” Marc Cheatham, the airport’s security coordinator, told the Empire. “We’re sad that it’s gone, but obviously we’re going to do our diligence to find out who did it and hopefully recover it… You kind of hope that somebody will return it, but if they don’t, I hope they enjoy it and don’t destroy it because it is a nice piece.”

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