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San Francisco, California – In a shocking turn of events, a man was caught on camera stealing a statue from an art gallery in the heart of the city. The incident occurred last night at the prestigious Modern Art Gallery, leaving both gallery staff and art enthusiasts bewildered.

According to security footage obtained by local authorities, the suspect, described as a tall man in his thirties with dark hair, entered the gallery under the cover of darkness. Clearly determined, he swiftly made his way towards a valuable bronze statue named “Eternal Beauty” by renowned artist Sophia Alvarez. The sculpture, known for its intricate detailing and captivating presence, is valued at an estimated $500,000.

In the footage, the man can be seen carefully removing the statue from its pedestal before hastily fleeing the scene. The gallery staff discovered the theft earlier this morning, prompting them to immediately report the incident to the police. Authorities have since launched a full investigation, combing through the evidence and examining the security footage for any possible leads.

The theft has shocked the local art community, who are rallying together in support of the gallery. Prominent artists and collectors have expressed their outrage over the incident, emphasizing the importance of protecting and preserving artistic treasures. Many believe that this is a wake-up call for increased security measures within galleries to prevent further such incidents.

Gallery director, Lisa Thompson, expressed her dismay at the theft, stating, “This act not only violates our space, but it also deprives the public of experiencing and appreciating this incredible work of art. We are devastated and are working closely with the police to recover the stolen statue.”

The authorities are appealing to the public for any information regarding the suspect or the whereabouts of the stolen sculpture. They have urged anyone with relevant information to come forward and assist in the investigation.

This incident serves as a reminder of the challenges faced by galleries and museums in safeguarding valuable artifacts. Experts believe that strengthening security protocols, including implementing advanced surveillance systems and increasing security personnel, is crucial to deter potential thefts and protect the artistic heritage.

As the hunt for the thief continues, the local art community remains hopeful that justice will be served, and the stolen sculpture will eventually find its way back to its rightful place.