Scottsdale Galleries Hit with Thefts

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- In the past four months, one or more thieves have robbed or attempted to rob at least five galleries in downtown Scottsdale and more than $25,000 in sculptures have been stolen, authorities said.

The most recent theft was May 31 at Gallery Elite.

Sonya Smith, who owns Sonya Smith Gallery, said she thinks the same burglar or burglars struck her store in July and March and Gallery Elite in May.

Smith said all three thefts were of similar pieces and the thief threw rocks at windows and doors to enter both galleries.

Michael Gurule, sales director at Gallery Elite, also thinks the burglaries were committed by the same person but does not believe the sculptures are being sold to art lovers in the United States.

"You can't market hot art," he said. "You put it up on the Web, people are going to know it's hot. I bet they're all in galleries in Mexico."