Unique masks valued at about $1,000 were stolen from the Chemainus Theatre Gallery and Gift Shop in an early Monday morning smash and grab.
Thieves tossed a rock into a side window and then reached in to grab several masks before fleeing the scene. Security footage put the time of the incident at around 5:15 a.m.
“Just reaching in it wouldn’t trigger off any of the alarms,” said Chemainus Theatre facilities manager Damion Knight.
People who may have seen or heard something around that time at the side of the Chemainus Theatre are asked to contact North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP.
“Among the items stolen are valuable Venetian masks and equally valuable and unique Steampunk masks,” gallery manager Lorna Rivard noted in a Facebook post.
Police attended after getting the call from theatre staff when the theft was discovered later Monday. A forensics investigator from Nanaimo was also on the scene.
“It’s never a good time, but this is the worst time,” said Knight.
The theatre is already reeling from a prolonged closure due to COVID-19, but the gallery and gift shop has at least stayed open.
Knight said besides the product loss, the glass repairs will amount to close to $950.
“The glass is very explosive,” he added. “We basically had glass everywhere – from the till area right to the back wall.”
A nearby cabinet was slightly damaged as well as some jewelry that will need to be repaired.
The RCMP have the theatre’s security footage and are investigating.
“That’s how we got the time,” said Knight.
A car can be seen going up and down the alley beside the theatre.
“It definitely feels like more than one person, but it’s hard to say,” Knight indicated.
Chemainus businessman Ward Yeager, who owns nearby shops and utilizes quality surveillance cameras, also captured some sights and sounds of the incident that has been reviewed for a possible lead on suspects.
“You can hear the glass breaking and see the car going north in the alley,” explained Knight.
The masks are definitely not a common commodity and should be easily identifiable so people are asked to keep an eye out for them in the event the culprits attempt to sell them.