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Artwork stolen from MCTS bus shelter

Posted: 6:12 PM, Sep 21, 2018
Updated: 2018-09-21 23:12:09Z

A local artist donated work to beautify some Milwaukee County Transit Bus Shelter, only to have a piece stolen in broad daylight.

MCTS currently has seven shelters across the city displaying artwork.  Unfortunately, the art on the shelter at 6th and National has been taken. 

MCTS has surveillance video of the thief ripping the four panels off the Walker's Point bus shelter around 5:30 p.m. on Sept. 10. After he collects the art, he boards a bus.

MCTS' Brendan Conway agrees that this isn't the crime of the century. However, it's still a crime.

"We have his face. We don't have his name. But we hope to maybe, whether it's the police or the public, maybe they can figure out. We just want to know why," said Conway. 

The name of the stolen piece is "Colorful Serape." Artist Gloria Ruiz-Santos says it took around 20 hours to create digitally using Photoshop. 

"I don't know how to feel. I don't know whether to be upset or honored in a way, I'm not sure," said Ruiz-Santos. 

She plans to sell copies of the stolen painting at the upcoming Walker's Point 5th Street Festival. Copies will run between $20 to $65. The funds from her sales will go to MCTS to replace the lost work. 

Installation for each shelter costs around $750 says Conway. He says all the funds for this project, as well as the art, were donated. The good news is that Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele donated $10,000 to help replace the stolen work, plus install a few more. 

Riders like Souriya Sananikone are annoyed with the idea that someone would steal artwork. Sean Moran says he's a big fan of 'Colorful Serape'  and wants to get to the bottom of this terrible mystery. 

"It's a travesty! I mean art, there's not as much funding for it anymore," said Moran.  

While the art thief's face is in clear view of MCTS' surveillance video, no one knows who he is.  

"The whole thing is really strange," said Moran. 

Ruiz-Santos says she's not deterred from sharing her art, because of one person. She's shocked but supports all artists sharing their voice.

MCTS has plans to use donated funds to replace the artwork on 6th and National sometime next week.