Almost $2,500 in art stolen from Charleston County Public Library

A view of the gallery, before and after the theft (Courtesy: Alizey Khan)

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- A local artist's exhibit at the Charleston County Library has three empty spaces after an art thief visited the gallery Tuesday.Alizey Khan is being featured at the Main Library's Saul Alexander Foundation Gallery.

According to a police report, a white male around age 25 was seen on surveillance cameras taking three of the most expensive paintings. Police reports show he was around 5'8" and 135 lbs. Library executive director Doug Henderson said he walked out with the paintings in his backpack.No one at the library recognized the man. Khan told police she had no reason to believe anyone would steal them.{}

"It's sort of flattering that some body liked it enough to steal it I guess. But it's still really depressing to have it stolen," she said.

The paintings were worth $2,450 in all. They had been on display since July 2.

"We're going to make the artist whole. We want the public to know we are here, the art is here. We want the art to continue to be shown. We want the artists to know it's safe to show their art here," said Doug Henderson, the library's director.

Khan told ABCNews4 that while the library did have insurance, she did not know how much the insurance company would be willing to cover."I really hope it's a full reimbursement, of course, but it doesn't really replace the sentimental value those paintings had to me," she said. "They were the earliest pieces I did in resin, while I was still developing the technique a few years ago, so they both took a long time to make and were made a long time ago!"The library will consult its security company to determine how to prevent future art thefts, Henderson said.

Khan announced the theft on her website and Facebook, asking the public to help find the suspect."All the pieces were painted in my layered resin technique, and therefore each took weeks to complete," Khan said on her website. "I feel a bit violated, to be honest, especially since the three stolen pieces were the ones I was proudest of in the whole exhibition."Despite the theft, she maintains good spirits, joking that the thief got away with one painting that's not entirely finished."Oh well, joke's on you, thief- I forgot to put UV protecting sealer over the Eagle Nebula after I finished it, so it'll cloud and yellow if you take it out into the sun. Small consolationssigh."

Charleston police are looking at the surveillance video to determine if it is helpful enough to release to the public.

While police search for a suspect, Khan is moving on with another show scheduled in the Fall.The solo exhibition of astronomical paintings will be featured at the Coastal Community Foundation from October to January. The show will share a name with the CCPL show: "Interspatial." Khan is also an instructor, teaching resin painting classes at Redux Contemporary Art Center. You can view her work on her website by clicking here.

If you know anything about the theft of Khan's resin paintings or any other crime, you are asked to call Crime Stoppers at 554-1111.