Saturday, December 01, 2007

Clinard Sculptures Stolen (and Recovered!)

Ten of Susan Clinard's sculptures were stolen
late Wednesday night November 28th 2007 .

They were exhibited among many others at
the Marsh Botanical Gardens at Yale University.

You can imagine how she feels.

and she would really like them back!

Here's the entire list of stolen work.


But then, on December 12, they were recovered
according to the following bizarre story .

When delivery driver Richard Ortello bought a bronze sculpture for $15 from a man at a Whalley Avenue gas station in the wee hours of Nov. 29, he knew it was good art. What he did not realize was that the sculpture was one of 10 stolen from the Yale Marsh Botanic Gardens two weeks ago, and the bronze piece, made by Susan Clinard, was valued at $3,500.

The Yale Police Department has a suspect in custody for the Nov. 28 theft of 10 sculptures worth $18,000 from the greenhouse of Marsh Botanical Gardens. Officers have also recovered nine of the 10 missing sculptures.

Clinard, a New Haven resident and wife of Molecular, Cellular & Developmental Biology professor Thierry Emonet, said she “couldn’t believe it” when the YPD told her most of the sculptures had been recovered.

Ortello said he was solicited by a stranger at the Shell Gas Station on Whalley Avenue at 3:30 a.m. on Thursday, Nov. 29 — several hours after the burglary took place. The man, who Ortello said had been “eyeballing” him from a shiny white van, got out of his vehicle and asked Ortello whether he was interested in purchasing some art.

The man led Ortello to the back of his van, opened the trunk and showed Ortello the sculptures inside. The man told Ortello he was selling them all for $30 apiece.

“I felt like I was saving [the sculptures],” Ortello said. “They were too good to be in this guy’s hands. I had a feeling they could have been stolen.”

Ortello said he asked the stranger whether he was hungry, and the man said he was. The pair went inside a local convenience store, and Ortello gave the man some money for food, he said. Ortello said he smelled liquor on the man’s breath.

When the stranger asked Ortello whether he wanted to purchase one of the sculptures, Ortello said he did not have much cash on him, and the man agreed to lower the price to $15. Ortello paid him $13 in bills and $2 in change and selected a bronze piece he said he found particularly beautiful — Clinard’s “Protecting Her hildren During War #2,” which she values at approximately $3,500.

“I felt like the thing was talking to me,” Ortello said.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

This was my uncle Richie.

It was cool how he recovered stolen statues and brought them back to where they belonged.

He is a great uncle.

- Ian

December 29, 2007  

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