WPD: $40,000 worth of paintings stolen from south Wichita storage unit

WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) Police say someone broken into a public storage unit and stole multiple paintings worth thousands of dollars.

The public storage is located in the 1100 block S. Rock Road.

A 74-year-old woman told police employees at the storage facility said the theft happened sometime between 4 p.m. on March 12 and 10 a.m. on March 13. Twenty paintings were taken.

The woman told police the paintings are valued at over $40,000. She said they are works of artists including Marco Sassone and Don Ruffin.

Police say they don't have photos of the paintings. They are working to determine if surveillance video is available.

Tuesday afternoon, Eyewitness News spoke with an appraiser who did not appraise the paintings that were stolen, but is familiar with the artists and the world of collecting. He says it is odd that someone would store paintings that valuable in an outside storage unit to begin with.

"Of the questions I would have here is, was it only paintings that were stolen, and why would the paintings be stored in a non-temperature-controlled environment," says certified art appraiser Brady Dreasher.

Dreasher says Sassone and Ruffin were primarily landscaping artists. He says Wichita has a small group of art collectors who are loyal to artists they like, which he says would explain why there are so many pieces in one collection.