Art Theft

Thieves steal eye painting from under the nose of downtown Dallas bar

Thieves steal eye painting from under the nose of downtown Dallas bar

Jay Cantrell painting
If you've seen this painting, report it to the police. Photo courtesy of Jay Cantrell

A band of thieves made off with an unusual item on April 1 in downtown Dallas, plucked right from the lobby of a downtown building: a large painting of The Eye.

Artist Jay Cantrell, who did the painting several months ago, says he went to the bar on Friday night and the painting had vanished.

"It's been hanging in the Woolworth lobby since July," he says. "I was getting ready for an art show that Saturday where the painting was going to be featured, and when I walked into the lobby, it was gone."

He posted a query on NextDoor, asking for leads.

"Last Friday night, this 4-by-5-foot painting was stolen between the hours of 11 pm and 2 am," he wrote. "Someone must have seen people carrying it out of the restaurant!"

Amazingly, he got a response from a neighbor, Ryan Miller, who spotted the painting as he was eating dinner. "I was sitting in Dallas Fish Market and I saw three to four guys carrying this painting down Main Street towards Akard," Miller says.

The painting was located in a lobby area off the Stone Street Gardens area that is shared by the Woolworth, Campisi, and Sol Irlandes. It was locked to the wall, but Cantrell acknowledges that it was not the most secure lock.

"It's a 4-by-5-foot painting, I never expected that someone would take it," he says. "I called the Woolworth, and they I thought I had decided to take it off the wall.

Cantrell, a downtown resident who frequents the Woolworth and other businesses in the area, offered to do the painting because that wall of the lobby was empty.

"For the longest time, there wasn't anything hanging on the wall and I thought a painting of The Eye would be perfect," he says. "I'd gotten a lot of compliments on it. I eat there all the time, and would see it."

The Dallas Police Department is investigating the theft, including checking with surveillance cameras from businesses nearby. If you've seen the painting, you can call the Dallas Police Department at 214-670-4414.

Cantrell says that the painting is valued at $4,500 from a gallery, but he's not interested in pressing charges. "I just want it back," he says.