SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) - Someone broke into a storage unit and made off with paintings from an accomplished artist, and investigators think the thief may have just gotten lucky.
What may not be lucky, though, is the crime was caught on camera.
Video surveillance at a storage facility in Pojoaque shows the thief's SUV enter the lot on Aug. 26 and then minutes later drive away with a load of stolen loot tied to the roof.
"We do believe it's just a random cut of the lock on this storage unit and just happened that those large paintings were in the storage unit," explained Lt. William Pacheco of the Santa Fe County Sheriff's Office.
But they aren't just any paintings. The victim, an art dealer in Santa Fe, told KRQE News 13 each of these gallery-size paintings are originals.
The paintings are oil on canvas and are signed by a well-known Peruvian artist Juan Machicado.
"The items are valuable," Pacheco continued. "They're not small pieces of art. They're large paintings."
One Machicado painting of a flute player stands about 4 feet by 4 feet. Another signed piece is more than 8 feet long.
And a painted hide by Native American artist Allen Monroe was stored in a large, framed shadow box.
All of the stolen art is worth about $37,000.
Investigators are hoping someone that may have seen something will come forward.
"We want to get this out to the public so people are aware that if someone is trying to sell these items on the street, they know that they're stolen and they can contact the sheriff's office," Pacheco said.
The suspect's silver or white Toyota 4Runner appears to have yellow New Mexico plates, and possible damage to the passenger side.
Investigators said it's unclear if the burglar was working with anyone else.
The art dealer told KRQE News 13 there are no prints of these pieces; they're the originals. The victims did not want to be identified but said they're working on finding a secure building to store their artwork.
Anyone with information is asked to call the Santa Fe County Sheriff's Department Investigation Division at (505) 986-2490 or Crime Stoppers at (505) 955-5050. Callers to Crime Stoppers do not have to give their names and may be eligible for a reward.
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