By Jim Armstrong, WBZ-TV

EXETER, N.H. (CBS) – Seacoast artists like Sandy McDermott have to wait up to a year for the honor of displaying and selling their work at Exeter Hospital. The facility lets local artisans showcase their pieces for a month at a time. Patients, visitors, and staff are able to buy them.

McDermott’s turn was this month and she chose 21 drawings and watercolors to share.

Then, Tuesday, security called.

WBZ-TV’s Jim Armstrong reports.

“He said, ‘Please tell me that you came in today to take two of your pieces off the wall.’ And I said, ‘No, I know nothing about my pieces being removed from the wall.’ So that’s how I found out.”

Two of her favorite watercolors had been stolen. Together, they were valued at just over $300.
Hospital surveillance cameras didn’t catch anything.

“I would love to see the end of this story, just to know why,” said McDermott. “I can’t figure out a reasonable, logical thing that would make me go, ‘Oh, OK all right. I get it.'”

Whoever took the paintings not only stole from the artist, but essentially from the hospital as well, since 20% of the proceeds from the paintings’ sale goes to support a fund for cancer patients.

“I think it’s very unfortunate that someone would think to steal in the first place and then to steal in a hospital setting, it’s just very unfortunate,” said Exeter Hospital spokesman Ryan Lawrence.

“It does make you wonder.”

McDermott has got a family history of cancer, too, so she was especially eager to help out the hospital’s Beyond the Rainbow fund. The fund helps people living with cancer and their families with bills other than those related to health care – things like transportation costs, daycare, or home heating bills.

This morning, McDermott brought in two new watercolors to replace the stolen ones.

“I had the option to remove all my pieces and I thought about that for about a day,” she explained. “But I chose to have faith in humanity and believe that it won’t happen again.”

McDermott says she hopes the thief reconsiders and returns the paintings. She said if the person doesn’t want to go through the police, they should return the watercolors to the hospital, or contact her directly via her website and blog.

  1. Joanne Keaney Kun says:

    I had a painting stolen from an Art Show at the Nevins Library in Methuen, Ma.
    on October 29,2010.
    Title Perkins Cove, Ogunquit, Maine
    Medium: Acrylic
    Size 18X24
    I know what you are going through and wonder if there is a connection.
    I reported it to the Methuen Police and I am a member of AIG.
    They fouund my ribbon,I won 2nd place, but not my painting. I hope you have better luck.

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