Art Heist at Taco Bell Stumps Police (artnet news)

Sarah Cascone, Tuesday, March 17, 2015 original article here.

The stolen Taco Bell painting.

The stolen Taco Bell painting. Artist unknown.

When burritos alone won’t satisfy your late-night drunken munchies, how about some art? That’s most likely exactly what happened at the Taco Bell in Westlake, Ohio, reports the local NBC news outlet, when someone made off with an acrylic painting this past weekend, sometime between 11 p.m. on Saturday and 2 a.m. on Sunday (see Stolen Picasso Seized in Newark Shipped as $37 Christmas Present).

“That place has had nothing but bad luck,” said Westlake police captain Guy Turner. “It’s caught fire, they had somebody crash into it and it caught fire. That place is kind of jinxed.”

While Captain Turner did not know the name of the artist behind the work, he said it was likely commissioned by the fast food franchise. A second copy of the painting was left behind by the thieves. Presumably, this was less of a high-tech, targeted Thomas Crowne Affair type of robbery than an impulsive, taco-and-beer-fueled crime of passion (see Stolen Sculpture Found in Toilet of Paris Museum).

“We’re going to search every dorm room and rumpus room in a ten mile radius,” he said, “round up the usual suspects.”

Believe it or not, the painting is reportedly worth $800—and considering the misguided enthusiasm for such oddities as Pizza Hut perfume, it’s not entirely inconceivable that some fast food aficionado might shell out that much for the work. More likely, however, whoever swiped the piece probably just wanted an ode to the home of “fourth meal” to hang on his or her wall.

Curious to know more about the painting and the artist, we called the Taco Bell.

“Do you know where the painting is or who has the painting?” said the unidentified young woman who answered the phone when we asked if she knew who the artist of the work was. “Do I need to trace this phone call?” She then referred us to the Westlake Police.

As far as outlandish art heists go, this one ranks right up there with the Oscar Murillo canvas someone grabbed off the floor of New York’s Museum of Modern Art (see Oscar Murillo Painting Goes Missing From MoMA—Was it Theft?), the time that drunkards stole sculptures from the Dale Chihuly exhibition at the Denver Botanic Gardens (see Dale Chihuly Artwork Thieves in Custody), and the also-intoxicated raid of a Fernandina Beach, Florida, art gallery by a duo from the US Navy (see Sailors Steal Art in Drunken Gallery Robbery).

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