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Young Thieves Rob Unaware Workers At Lower East Side Galleries

Over the last weekend, a group of thieves visited various Lower East Side galleries and stole the handbags, credit cards, etc. of workers there.

While the story is still developing, early reports by Artnet News suggest that at least four galleries were targeted. These were Nicodim, Derosia, Betty Cunningham, and Hashimoto Contemporary. The pattern was first revealed when the information was circulated on NADA Noodle, an email forum by New Art Dealers Alliance (NADA) – a group for newer galleries.

Gallery with black and white paintings of people on its walls.
View of the current exhibition at the Betty Cunningham

According to the reports, the thieves were a group of rather young people. They entered the galleries under the pretense of being students interested in learning more about the artworks on display. During their various inquiries with the workers at the museums, they carefully lifted off their credit cards, wallets, and handbags. In their company-wide email, Betty Cunningham informed their staff that the group of thieves had stolen credit cards (estimated to be loaded with thousands of dollars) within 20 minutes of their visits.

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It is worth noting that while the thieves stole a variety of objects from various galleries, no artworks were stolen. It is unclear whether that was because of the difficulty in selling stolen artworks in the black markets, or because it is not part of their modus operandi. Nonetheless, gallery workers reported the theft to the police almost immediately. However, it is still unclear whether any of the thieves were arrested. With later reports suggesting that a group with a similar description was spotted at the Tribeca and Chelsea gallery, it seems they are still at large.