Two works of art were stolen from Roper Hospital earlier this month with a combined market value of approximately $5,000.

The first theft was reported on March 5. It was a painting by local artist Shannon Runquist of a “shrimp falling out of a seagrass basket,” according to a police report. The scene of the robbery was the third floor of the hospital and occurred some time between 5 p.m. the day before and 7:30 the next morning. Roper security is currently reviewing surveillance logs. The painting was estimated to be worth about $2,800.

The other theft was reported the next day, March 6, as additional information to the previous robbery report. The identity of the work of art or the artist was not known as the time police filed the incident. It was noticed missing about 3 p.m. The scene of the robbery was the fifth floor of the hospital “between the scrub room and the physician room.” The value of the work is about $2,000.

The thing about art heists is that robbers typically don’t know the value of the object. They just know it’s worth something. Once they’ve stolen it, they have to fence it, and usually that’s hard to do, because the art is so distinct. The Runquist painting, for instance, has her signature on the bottom right-hand corner. Pretty unique. When thieves realize that can’t do much with art, they usually trash it or stash it someplace to be forgotten.

For more, check out this interview on NPR with the author of a book on the biggest art theft in US history. —John Stoehr