3 Apr 2017

Ram-raid painting theft: Do you recognise these men?

7:54 pm on 3 April 2017

Police have released CCTV images of two men they say stole two valuable Gottfried Lindauer paintings at the weekend.

The thieves used a stolen vehicle to raid the International Arts Centre in Parnell early on Saturday. They snatched the pieces known as Chieftainess Ngatai-Raure and Chief Ngatai-Raure.

Police described one of the men as pale skinned, of medium build and 20 to 30 years old.

The second man was taller, of skinny to medium build, and about the same age.

Police were also seeking sightings of a white 2016 Holden Commodore in the area.

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Police have released these images in relation to the weekend's ram-raid. Photo: Supplied

Detective Inspector Scott Beard urged anyone with information about the men, or where the paintings were, to call them.

Police believed there were three offenders - the two men caught on security footage and the getaway driver, he told Checkpoint with John Campbell.

"Our investigation would suggest this was planned ... [It was] not spur-of-the-moment.

"It would appear these people have known what they were doing."

The car was stolen from Parnell. It was left at the scene, he said.

The most important thing was to get the paintings back, even if it was through "an intermediary", Mr Beard said.

The paintings "Chieftainess Ngatai-Raure" and "Chief Ngatai-Raure" by Gottfried Lindauer were taken in the raid overnight.

The paintings "Chieftainess Ngatai-Raure" and "Chief Ngatai-Raure", by Gottfried Lindauer, were taken. Photo: NZ Police

The theft has prompted art auctioneers to up their security measures.

Dunbar Sloane in Wellington will sell a Lindauer painting on Wednesday. The auctioneer added another security guard.

Another Lindauer painting, The Māori Princess, will go under the hammer at Auckland's Art and Object on Thursday.

Art director Ben Plumbly said they, too, were taking extra security measures for peace of mind.

Glass can be seen littering the street at the International Art Centre, in Parnell, after the ram-raid in which two Gottfried Lindauer paintings were stolen.

The aftermath of the raid at the International Art Centre, Parnell Photo: RNZ / Laura Tupou

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