LOGAN SQUARE — A woman was caught on surveillance camera snatching a painting from a nonprofit art gallery on the edge of Logan Square.
The brazen theft happened on Jan. 2 just after 2 p.m., according to police and IPaintMyMind gallery founder Evan La Ruffa, who runs the organization out of the Green Exchange building, 2545 W. Diversey Ave.
In the video, three people are seen entering the building, but the woman in the back appears to be trailing behind. All of them go up the escalator, but a few seconds later the third woman can be seen walking down a separate front stairwell as she approaches the painting on the wall near the door. La Ruffa said it appears the woman gained access to the building by closely following the other two woman inside.
The woman then sizes up the painting and walks away before doubling back and pulling the painting off the wall and walking out around the 1:28 mark, the video shows.
In another video, the woman can be seen sticking the painting in the backseat of her car and driving away.
The theft from the lobby happened after security had left the building.
The abstract painting by local artist Zac Franzoni is worth about $600, according to La Ruffa.
"We're out here supporting the community and to have this person do that, it just sucks," La Ruffa said. "We're a small nonprofit, trying to give back and spread good vibes. Artists have a hard enough time. We don't need people stealing their work."
Despite the video footage — which includes a close up of her car and its license plate — no one is in custody for the crime, which is under investigation, police said Thursday.
In the more than three years IPaintMyMind has called the Green Exchange building home, the organization hasn't been the target of any crimes until now, La Ruffa said.
"It was just so brazen. I can't believe someone would walk into a building like that," he said.
Days later the same woman returned to the building with a man and tried to gain access to the building, but the pair were unsuccessful, additional surveillance footage shows.
The nonprofit arts organization, which is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. - 5 p.m., prides itself on offering art that is "accessible to everyone." Profits from exhibits goes toward installing free art installations in schools, libraries in parks in underserved neighborhoods.
La Ruffa is hosting an art opening for the artist whose work was stolen on Feb. 8, from 7-10 p.m. Franzoni will be painting live at the event.
"We would love to get the painting back so Zac doesn't lose out on potential income," he said.
The stolen painting [Zac Franzoni]