Garage thief swipes an east side artist’s work that has been displayed all across Indianapolis


INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — An artist on the near east side had her work stolen from her garage right after it had been showcased to the public.

“I was bringing it home from a show. I don’t normally store art in the garage, but I was storing it temporarily while I made space in my art studio to bring it in,” explains artist Latoya Marlin.

She lives on Jefferson Avenue in Indy’s near east side. She grew up in the neighborhood and praises it for being diverse, ever-evolving, and up and coming. It is there she decided to buy her first home, and create her art studio. Marlin lost her brother to gun violence at a very young age, and now works in the legal field. She only began creating art ten years ago after her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. She never expected her two career paths to collide inside her garage.

“Naturally, I want to feel a little bit flattered, because they saw it, and thought, ‘Hey this may be of some value.’ I’ve been worried, and having some anxiety, wondering where it is,” explains Marlin, “It was on sale. It’s my hobby, but it also helps me live. [The pandemic] has slowed down for a lot of artists because we aren’t able to do shows. People are paying their bills, and they aren’t buying art as much.”

This is the second time her garage has been broken into. Marlin believes this time the suspect jumped over her privacy fence, and gained access to the garage by damaging an entryway door. Just days later, a neighbor two blocks away had their garage broken into. The neighbor was able to catch the person on surveillance footage, but right now it is unknown if the two crimes are connected.

Along with the painting, the person stole gardening tools, and a TV she was going to donate.

“The painting is what I am most concerned about,” explains Marlin.

Her piece was showcased in 2019 as part of an annual “meet the artists” exhibit at the Indianapolis Central Library. Just a few months ago it was on display at the Harrison Center.

“Never thought in a million years someone would steal it. It was actually in a series. The other two have sold,” details Marlins, “It has wood on it, and it has leather on it. It’s about size 30 by 40, and it is black, white and turquoise.”

Marlin posted pictures of the missing art on social media, and it has since been shared more than 300 times.

If you are in possession of the painting, Marlin says you can bring it to the Indianapolis Central Library, and leave it with the curator there. If you have seen the painting around, you are urged to contact the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department.

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