Some of the remaining unclaimed artwork seized from a closed art gallery in Oak Bay in April by Saanich police during their investigation into potential fraud and other activities. (Courtesy Saanich Police Department)

Some of the remaining unclaimed artwork seized from a closed art gallery in Oak Bay in April by Saanich police during their investigation into potential fraud and other activities. (Courtesy Saanich Police Department)

200 pieces still unclaimed after seizure from Oak Bay art gallery in April

Charges of fraud, false pretense being prepared for Crown, Saanich police say

After weeks of working to match the owners with more than 1,000 pieces of art seized from an Oak Bay gallery that had recently closed its doors, more than 200 pieces remain unclaimed, according to Saanich police.

“The return of the art has been a labour-intensive process but an overall success, as we have been able to return over 75 per cent of the pieces we seized,” said Const. Markus Anastasiades in a release. “We attribute this success to the media coverage and attention this file received, as well as the art community across the country spreading the word to one another. We’re still hopeful we will be able to return all of the pieces we have.”

As of June 1, more than 900 pieces have been returned to the rightful collectors, estates and artists themselves, to destinations around B.C. and as far away as Ontario, Quebec and the Maritimes, as well as Washington state.

All avenues are being explored to find the owners of the unclaimed art, Anastasiades said, and the dedicated email for inquiries is still valid at art@saanichpolice.ca.

No charges have yet been laid, police said, but the investigation continues and criminal charges for multiple counts of fraud and false pretense are expected to be submitted to Crown counsel in the coming weeks.

RELATED STORY: Tens of millions worth of art seized from Oak Bay dealer in fraud investigation


 

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