Vancouver: Man flees gallery with gold sculpture then returns next day

A shameless thief walked into an art exhibition and left with a gold statue worth £18,000 slung over his shoulder- before returning the next day to do the exact same thing again.

The unlikely heist was perpetrated by Francis Boivin, a well-known local thief in Vancouver, Canada, who has more than 115 previous convictions under his belt.

Following his latest crime spree, Boivin, 50, now faces two more charges after he was apprehended by police who recognised his face from security footage.

Dror Darel, director of the Vancouver Fine Art Gallery, says the man stole one sculpture on Friday and came back to another on Saturday.

Both sculptures were by the artist Rudolf Sokolovski and have a combined value of nearly $40,000 (£24,500).

Mr Darel said he initially failed to notice the first theft as he was busy dealing customers elsewhere in the shop, but spotted the second robbery on the security cameras the next day.

‘It took him eight seconds to walk in, lift up the sculpture and walk right out,’ Darel told local media.

It took the thief just eight seconds to stroll into the gallery and steal the expensive artwork (Picture: Vancouver Fine Art Gallery)

‘I couldn’t have left the gallery because we’ve got hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of artwork in here.’

But when police arrived at the scene, they recognised the thief immediately and quickly set about plans to apprehend him.

‘He’s a chronic offender. We know him well,’ Vancouver Police Department Sgt. Steve Addison told CBC.

After reviewing the footage, officers responded quickly and drove to Boivin’s home after immediately recognising the suspect.

They caught him red-handed little under an hour later as he returned home clutching the stolen sculpture, and soon found the second artwork after obtaining a search warrant for the property.

‘Anytime we’re able to get somebody like this, catch them in the act, recover the property, obtain criminal charges on somebody, it’s a good thing,’  Addison said following the arrest.

Boivin was subsequently charged with two counts of theft over $5,000 and is due to appear in court.

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