March 7 2014 Latest news:
Wednesday, December 11, 2013
Two works of art by Damien Hirst worth around £33,000 have been stolen from the Exhibitionist Gallery in London.
Police said the incident took place at the Blenheim Crescent gallery between 3am and 3.30am on Monday.
One suspect is said to have entered the gallery by forcing the front doors before driving the items away in a dark-coloured hatchback-type vehicle in the direction of Ladbroke Grove.
Gallery manager Nathan Engelbrecht, 31, said he suspected the thieves would have known the value of the prints, which he had only acquired four days earlier and planned to unveil to clients on Tuesday.
“The speed at which it happened - we got them on Thursday and they’re gone on Monday - just seems a bit coincidental,” he said.
“It seems like it was targeted.
“It’s a bit disappointing - as soon as you get a big name in the gallery, it just gets ripped off.
“You think in an area like this, with bars and people around all the time, you think you are protected. Not necessarily.”
The pieces, featuring multi-coloured dots and signed by the artist, are together worth more than £30,000.
Pyronin Y (103cm by 116cm) was created in 2005 and is valued at £15,000.
Oleoylsarcosine (67cm x 89 cm), from 2008, is worth £18,000.
A spokesman for Hirst said: “This is a police matter and I’m afraid we cannot comment.”
Kensington and Chelsea borough police’s Det Sgt Jon Lightfoot said they believed the pair of works were “specifically targetted”, adding: “The items would have been visible in the back of the car and we are appealing for any witnesses or anyone with information to please come forward.”
Contact the Serious Acquisitive Crime Unit at Notting Hill Police Station on 020 8246 0230 or, to remain anonymous, Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.