Second brazen art theft in one week

The sword thief was captured on camera. Photo / supplied
The sword thief was captured on camera. Photo / supplied

A second brazen thief has struck at a New Zealand museum this week, with police now looking for a man who stole a sword from an art installation.

Police are looking for a man who made off with the plastic letter opener made to look like a sword from a statue at Pataka Art and Museum on Tuesday afternoon.

Museum staff noticed it was missing soon after and went back through their CCTV security footage to find out what happened.

They found vision of the man swiping the sword from the Apocalypse Vanitas - an artwork showing a human skeleton riding an animal skeleton while carrying a sword and shield by artist Niki Hastings-McFall.

He put the sword in his pocket and left through the front doors.

A group of art students were in the gallery at time of incident, police say.

Police were told on Wednesday and were now asking if anyone recognised the man in the CCTV footage, or had any information, to phone them on 04 238 1401 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

The plastic letter opener was 10cm long, Porirua City Council spokeswoman Barbara Bercic said.

The theft comes after an English tourist stole a silk kimono from the Lakes District Museum in Arrowtown on Monday.

She was arrested in Te Anau last night.

Police say the tourist, who had been travelling on a bus trip, admitted stealing the kimono but says she put it in a rubbish bin in Arrowtown.

It's not yet been found.

She's paid reparation over the theft of the $625 work and will leave the country tomorrow.

The case had widespread coverage after police released CCTV footage of the woman stealing Alison Naylor's one-off, handmade piece. The cameras showed her touching several of the pieces on display before lifting Mrs Naylor's piece from the wall.

She then rolled it up and put it in her bag before casually leaving the museum through the front doors.

- APNZ

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