Rare Book Monthly

Articles - February - 2017 Issue

A Large Heist Far North

RCMP headquarters in Fairview fits Americans' image of life in Canada.

Canadian police have asked the public for help in locating a collection of prints and original art. The theft was reported back on September 22, 2016, but the Royal Canadian Mounted Police have not been able to break the crime, so the call went out for assistance just over a week ago. The 70 missing items are estimated to be worth around $735,000. While such thefts are not enormously unusual, the circumstances of this one are atypical.

 

The prints and other artwork were taken from a storage facility while awaiting shipment to an auction house. That is about all we know. The RCMP would not reveal who the owner is nor the name of the auction house that was going to sell it. The location of the material was unusual for a collection of this value. It was being held in Fairview, Alberta. Fairview is situated in northern Alberta, Peace River Country (not to be confused with the hamlet of Fairview in southern Alberta). It is a small town where people from Calgary and Edmonton would be considered southerners. The population is approximately 3,000. The town dates back only to 1928, established when the railroad was extended. Cpl. Gord Hughes of the RCMP observed, "This is a very unique thing," adding, "you don’t really hear of that in northern Alberta."

 

The collection included prints by Canadian wildlife artist Robert Bateman and others by American nature artist Stephen Lyman. There were also some celebrity portraits.

 

It was not revealed where the owner lived, as Fairview may have been a temporary location as the collection was being moved to the auction house. However, one would presume it was someone who lived way north as there is no other reason it should have been holed up in such a far northern town.

 

Royal Canadian Mounted Police are requesting anyone with knowledge of the crime contact the Peace River detachment or their local office.

Rare Book Monthly

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