Police are searching for a man dressed as a woman with an apparent fondness for high heels.

A high-heel shoe sculpture, an Italian piece worth $1100, was taken from a boutique gallery in Russell on January 3 at 11.40am.

The thief took the walnut wooden carving from Just Imagine Gallery on York St. Police believe an accomplice distracted a shop assistant.

Russell police Constable Mike Gorrie said the crime was captured on the boutique's CCTV as the accomplice used her bank card to buy the earrings.

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"The offender was described as being male dressed as a female... approximately 1.80m tall, large hands and deep voice, blonde wig tied up and lots of makeup," Constable Gorrie said.

He said he had spoken with a person who matched the description, however they had not been formally identified as the person who stole from the shop.

The offenders' accomplice made references to being from Auckland while in the shop, but Constable Gorrie said he had no way of verifying this. The pair drove off in a medium red car.