By now, many of you have heard of last week’s theft of seven paintings from the Saul Alexander Gallery in the Main branch of the Charleston County Public Library. The first to go missing were three from local artist Alizey Khan’s Interspatial exhibit, while the others were pieces by Danita Cole and Sherry Brown exhibited in the lobby. The thefts took place on July 30, Aug. 1, and Aug. 2.
The suspect, Robert Wayne Russell, was arrested on Friday and charged with grand larceny after a Reid St. business owner recognized the man. The business owner had purchased three of the paintings from him without realizing they were stolen, and those paintings have been recovered. The police are still trying to locate the other four. In total, the value of the stolen work was $5,825.
While the library has decided to stop exhibiting art until more security measures have been put in place, it still remains to be seen how the theft will affect future exhibits. UPDATE: Frances Richardson at the CCPL tells us that the County will be doing a security assessment of the building this week, and the library will also be upgrading their security cameras. She adds “We want the community to know that we will not let this isolated incident deter our commitment to the arts community. The Library has a 70-year history of offering free public exhibits promoting art and local artists. We want to ensure this remains an isolated incident so residents can continue to enjoy and celebrate great art while at the Library.”