Priceless Yupik Art Stolen From YKHC

The Yukon Kuskokwim Health Corporation is offering a reward for information that helps find thirteen pieces of Yup’ik artwork that were stolen from display cases.

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Newton Chase is YKHC’s Vice President of Support Services. He says the items were taken from the Administrative Building, just across the street from the main hospital.

“We believe sometime this past weekend someone unknown to us gained entry to the building or remained in the building after-hours on Friday and broke into the display cabinets on each of the floors and removed a number of the priceless pieces of heritage,” said Chase.

The thief broke off the ivory loon and left behind the wooden frame. (Photo by Charles Enoch / KYUK)
The thief broke off the ivory loon and left behind the wooden frame. (Photo by Charles Enoch / KYUK)

Officials say there is no surveillance footage of the incident because the cameras on each exit were not recording at the time. A YKHC press release says the locks on display cases were picked. YKHC Risk Management Director Linda Weisweaver says none of the displays were damaged and it appears the burglar tried to hide the theft.

“All the pieces that they removed were really smaller. The biggest one was probably a foot and a half tall tusk, a walrus tusk that had been carved. The majority of them would fit inside someone’s coat or jacket,” said Weisweaver.

Weisweaver says some of the items were taken apart, with only the ivory portion missing. The items taken are estimated to be worth over $11,000.

YKHC is offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the thief or the safe return of the stolen art. In the meantime, they’ve doubled their security detail.

Officials ask anyone with information to contact the Bethel Police Department.

For images and descriptions of the stolen items click here.