Two men charged with theft after $55,000 gnome stolen from Auckland art gallery

2019-01-29 21:30:31

Two men have been charged with theft after a gnome worth more than $50,000 was stolen from an Auckland art gallery.

The 150kg bronze statue, entitled Thinker, which retails for $55,000, was stolen from outside Gow Langsford Gallery on Christmas Day.

Following media attention, the gnome turned up outside The Salvation Army in Glen Eden on January 15.

Detective constable Tim Roberts of Auckland police said a 46-year-old man and a 55-year-old man had been charged.

"The theft was reported to police once the gallery's owner discovered it was missing on Saturday January 12, and a few days later it was found dumped outside a Salvation Army in Glen Eden," Roberts said.

"Police were able to recover it and return it to its owner."

The men were due to appear in Auckland District Court on Wednesday.

On January 15, art gallery director Anna Jackson said the gnome had been "lovingly placed" at the door of The Salvation Army with a note saying 'Please return to Gow Langsford Art Gallery Auckland'.

She said she was really pleased the gnome had been returned but not overly surprised due to the media coverage.

Police had taken the note for forensic testing, she added.

At the time, Detective Senior Sergeant Roger Small said it was one of the more "bizarre" thefts he had heard of.

"It's not something that's exactly common, but we're very glad this artwork can now be returned to the gallery."

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