ALERT BAY—Two pieces of artwork were stolen from the U’mista Cultural Centre Wednesday and RCMP are seeking information leading to the return of the items and the arrest of the suspect.
Alert Bay RCMP responded Nov. 5 to a report of a break and enter to commit theft from the U’mista Centre, the repository of an historic Kwakwaka’wakw potlatch collection on Cormorant Island. Police attended to find the suspect had already fled on foot.
The unidentified suspect stole two pieces of artwork from inside the centre: a black-and-tan bowl with the dimensions of five inches high, 10 inches in width and four inches in diameter; and a light blue, red, and black rattle in the shape of a face, made of alder with acrylic paint and abalone inlay, with dimensions of 14 inches in height, 7.5 inches in width, and 8.5 inches in diameter.
RCMP believe the suspect in possession of these artifacts may attempt to sell them to a third party such as a gallery or private collector. It is a crime to possess these items and know they were obtained directly or indirectly by the commission of break and enter to commit theft.
Since its incorporation in 1974, the U’mista Centre has worked towards the survival of the cultural heritage of the Kakwaka’wakw. The Centre houses historical and contemporary artifacts, as well as ethnobiological exhibits.
Police are requesting any information pertaining to the location of these stolen items so that they may be returned to the U’mista Centre. Police are also seeking any information leading to the identification and arrest of the suspect responsible for this crime.
Those with information may either contact Constable Andrew Curtis of the Alert Bay RCMP detachment at 250-974-5544 or anonymously with Crimestoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS(8477).