‘Art Heroes’ To Be Rewarded After Stopping Newbury Street Heist

BOSTON (CBS) – New video shows a thief smashing into a gallery and stealing several pieces of expensive art. The man did not get very far thanks to a group of college students.

Gallery staffers are still trying to make sense out of it.

“It’s all very peculiar,” says Kristine Feeks Hammond of Galerie d’Orsay on Newbury Street.

It was Super Bowl night and elated students were swarming the Boston Common when a man broke a window and let himself into the gallery.

“Apart from the brick that he used to break our front window it doesn’t look like he was armed,” said Feeks Hammond.

The burglar rounded up five etchings and lithographs by Picasso, Rembrandt, Miro, and Chagall — worth nearly $50,000 — apparently at random.

Alleged thief inside Newbury Street gallery (WBZ-TV)

Alleged thief inside Newbury Street gallery (WBZ-TV)

“He chose a $7,500 Rembrandt work and there’s a $90,000 Rembrandt right next to it,” Feeks Hammond says.

But as he made his exit, three Boston University seniors heading home from the celebration heard the alarm wailing and saw a guy with a bunch of art under his arms.

“They heard the crunch, crunch of this guy ducking out the door, the broken glass door and they all looked at each other and said ‘we got to do something about this,’” Feeks Hammond said.

Alleged thief inside Newbury Street gallery (WBZ-TV)

Alleged thief inside Newbury Street gallery (WBZ-TV)

Police say 29-year-old Jordan Leishman tried to make a run for it but the student trio bear hugged him against a mailbox and summoned nearby police officers.

“They just went right into it and they say the whole thing was over I think in about 20 seconds,” Feeks Hammond said. “So it happened all very quickly.”

The gallery is planning a special ‘thank you’ for the students the weekend after next including a sizeable reward.

Art recovered after attempted heist from Galerie d'Orsay (WBZ-TV)

Art recovered after attempted heist from Galerie d’Orsay (WBZ-TV)

“Our art heroes is what we’re calling them,” Feeks Hammond said.

The artwork was fine, but the gallery says the frames need thousands in repairs because they were dropped on the sidewalk during the getaway.

Jordan Leishman will be in court again on Wednesday.

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