DPS continues search for student’s stolen artwork

The Department of Public Safety is continuing its search for a piece of student artwork stolen from E.S. Bird Library early in the morning on Nov. 1.

The piece was one of six in a series created by freshman Hadley Allen that was put on display on the ground floor of the library near the entranceway. Allen created the series for a dimensional art class, said Erin Murphy, an adjunct professor in the College of Visual and Performing Arts who teaches the class.

“This was one of three projects and we have an agreement with the library that all of our projects for this class are being installed in the library,” Murphy said.

The theft took place around 2 or 3 a.m. after Halloween, and may have been part of a fraternity prank, Murphy said.

“I don’t know what folks would have done with this,” she said.

Murphy has not seen the footage herself, but has been talking with the detective in charge of the investigation.

Surveillance footage shows three students entering the building and checking for security. Two of the students hung back and kept watch while the third took the piece and stuffed it under his or her jacket, Murphy said.

The students did not swipe their SUIDs to get into the building, but rather “piggybacked” on someone else who was entering, she said.

Murphy said, according to the detective, the theft could be considered petit larceny. But the ultimate goal, she said, is to have the piece returned.

Ironically, Murphy said, the piece that was stolen was a combination lock, and the series was titled “Safe.”

“I don’t know if that’s part of the joke,” she said.

Both Murphy and Allen are very upset about the situation.

“It takes a lot of courage to show your work publicly, especially when you’re a freshman in school, and this is an opportunity for freshmen to show their works — that’s never been given to a freshman class before,” she said. “That was a big deal.”

What’s most upsetting is that this is a missed opportunity for Allen, Murphy said. She could have shown the project at other venues and also used it in her portfolio, as it was a very strong piece, she said.

Said Murphy: “The university community should be a trusting environment and I think that it’s really sad when things like this happen, when people can’t respect each other enough to enjoy each other’s work and be able to celebrate it, and not disrespect it and steal things.”



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