Caught on camera, man steals artwork from Milwaukee bus shelter

NOW: Caught on camera, man steals artwork from Milwaukee bus shelter

A thief steals a local artists' design from a bus stop.  

The artwork was installed as part of Milwaukee’s Bus Shelter Art Project. MCTS is hoping the public can help find the man behind the art heist.

The theft happened in broad daylight at a bus stop on 6th and National on Sept. 10th.

It was caught on camera. The suspect is seen tearing down the installation.

The artist, Gloria Ruiz-Santos said she's in disbelief. "I had to drive over here myself to see for it myself and I was pretty shocked. I was just weird emotions going on, I don't know if it was stolen for the love of the artwork or if it was a hate-crime."

The unique piece is called "Colorful Serape." Ruiz-Santos did it for the love of her Mexican heritage, for free. "I just wanted to kinda bring a little bit of that here so I wanted to add a lot of color to my design," she said

It was placed on the bus shelter with a strong adhesive, so the man had to put in some work to take it down.

Once the suspect did, he's caught on video getting on the Blue Line bus with the artwork in hand.

The Milwaukee art community said they’re disappointed. “Oh, I felt so disheartened, my heart literally just dropped to my stomach. That's the one piece that embodies this community,” said Libby Olbrantz, Director of Bus Art Project MKE.

The cost of the installation was $750. Chris Abele, Milwaukee County Executive, made a personal donation of $10,000 towards the bus shelter project to bring more designs to the area. 

Saturday, Sept. 21, Ruiz-Santos will be selling prints of her artwork at the 5th Street Festival. The money raised will help install a new piece of artwork in the bus shelter.

Milwaukee Police are investigating the heist.

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