Thief Walks Out of Art Gallery with $20,000 Salvador Dalí Etching When No One Was Looking

Jason Duaine Hahn
Thief Walks Out of Art Gallery with $20,000 Salvador Dalí Etching When No One Was Looking

A thief casually stole an etching created by the legendary artist Salvador Dalí by walking into an art gallery and simply plucking it off its easel.

The suspect, a man wearing a blue T-shirt and baseball cap, strolled into San Francisco’s Dennis Rae Fine Art on Sunday and walked out with an etching titled “Surrealistic Bullfight: Burning Giraffe,” created by Dalí between 1966 and 1967, according to KGO.

“It’s quite important as far as the period of etchings,” Angela Kellett, the gallery’s director, explained to the news station. “It’s very, very well known. It’s a beautiful piece. It was inspired by Picasso first.”

In surveillance footage of the theft, the man is seen walking into the gallery as a woman accompanying him stands outside. He walks out with the large etching just seconds later.

The San Francisco Police Department is still investigating the incident and has made no arrests so far, they told PEOPLE in a statement.

“It happened quickly,” said the gallery’s co-owner, David Schach, to NBC News. “The gallery director was speaking with other customers at the time of the theft.”

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The etching was framed on an easel at the front of the gallery, KGO reported. There was nothing to secure it.

“It was our showcase item,” Kellett said. “We have a special Salvador Dalí show right now and, yeah, they just ran off with it, too quick for anyone to do anything about it.”

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As CNN notes, a previous Dalí painting made headlines in 2012 when someone anonymously donated it to Goodwill.

The organization was able to sell the painting for $21,005 in an online auction, which went to fund 12 scholarships to help people with disabilities and disadvantages find jobs.

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Thanks to his surrealist artworks, Dalí is considering one of the most prolific artists of the last century. According to Art Story, he was known for his flamboyant personality, and his work often conveyed themes of eroticism, death and decay.

His most famous works are arguably 1931’s “The Persistence of Memory,” famous for its display of melting watches amongst a barren landscape, and 1929’s “The Great Masturbator,” which depicts an erotic fantasy.