Thief Returns Stolen Library Painting With Heartfelt Apology Note

He wrote that the act was "a stupid mistake."

The Kansas City Library was eager to recover the stolen Patrick Saunders painting of the Waldo Water Tower. Photo: Kansas City Public Library.
The Kansas City Library was eager to recover the stolen Patrick Saunders painting of the Waldo Water Tower. Photo: Kansas City Public Library.
The Kansas City Library was eager to recover the stolen Patrick Saunders painting of the Waldo Water Tower. Photo: Kansas City Public Library.

The Kansas City Library was eager to recover the stolen Patrick Saunders painting of the Waldo Water Tower.
Photo: Kansas City Public Library.

A stolen painting has been recovered by a Kansas City library, reports a local Fox news outlet. The missing artwork was accompanied by a note, suggesting that the thief regretted his crime.

The painting, of the nearby Waldo Water Tower, had been lent to the public library by Kurtis Marinez, president of the Waldo Tower Historic Society. Local artist Patrick Saunders created the work to celebrate the restoration of the community landmark, and it is valued at $150.

The piece was stolen by a library patron during business hours, and the perpetrator was caught on surveillance camera. (For similar incidents, don’t miss the man who stuffed a sculpture inside a rolled up newspaper, or the women who snatched a painting from a government building while registering for her dog license.)

Security footage of the thief and the Patrick Saunders painting he stole. Photo: Kansas City Public Library.

Security footage of the thief and the Patrick Saunders painting he stole.
Photo: Kansas City Public Library.

Though the theft took place in October, local news outlets only picked up on the story this month. It would seem that seeing his face on the news (and maybe learning about the aftermath of his theft—library staff told Fox the crime was “heartbreaking”) caused the thief to think better of his actions. The painting was returned by mail on February 22, along with a heartfelt apology note.

“I made a very immature and stupid mistake by taking this painting,” the thief wrote. “I apologize for the time, effort and concern put into this matter. I am very embarrassed and wish nothing but the best for Kansas City and its library community.”

A painting was stolen and then returned to the Waldo branch of the Kansas City public library. Photo: Google Street View.

A painting was stolen and then returned to the Waldo branch of the Kansas City public library.
Photo: Google Street View.

The painting’s return is cause for celebration for the Waldo library. “It was surprise—surprise and then just relief,” branch manager Meredith Roberson, who opened the package, told Fox. “I got teary and kind of yelled and ran through the library!”

Other art heists have had similarly anticlimactic endings, as when a stolen Dale Chihuly sculpture from Florida’s Chihuly Collection was left undamaged in a box outside one of the museum’s building.


Follow artnet News on Facebook:


Want to stay ahead of the art world? Subscribe to our newsletter to get the breaking news, eye-opening interviews, and incisive critical takes that drive the conversation forward.

Share

Article topics