Friday 23 August 2019

Stolen Conor McGregor painting may have been spotted on a bus, after a man 'showed it to the whole upper deck'

The painting in question: Pic via Twitter
The painting in question: Pic via Twitter

Cian Murray

A Dublin artist who was left reeling yesterday after a print of one of his prized paintings was stolen from a gallery near Grafton Street has received a potential lead from a member of the public.

A large print of a painting by Niall O'Loughlin was taken from the Balla Bán Art Gallery in the Westbury Mall near Grafton Street on Sunday.

After appealing for information on social media the artist was contacted by someone on Twitter who said they recalled seeing someone on a bus with what looked like the painting.

The man was "implying he had just bought it" and allegedly "showed the painting to the whole upper deck".

The print displays Conor McGregor with the interim UFC World Championship after his victory over Chad Mendes in Las Vegas.

Mr O'Loughlin expressed his frustration at the incident, tweeting: "Would love to catch the f**k@r who stole my Conor McGregor from the @BallaBanArt gallery in the Westbury mall. If u saw anything let me know."

The artist, who is originally from Dublin but is now based in Dunboyne, Co Meath, previously told Independent.ie that he believes Christmas shoppers possibly witnessed the theft.

He said: "I just got a call from the gallery yesterday to say, [the person worked there] turned his back to chat to someone and when he looked back it was gone. It is not a small painting, so surely somebody saw the person with it.

"It is a hard thing to carry around without being noticed."

Gallery owner Frank O'Dea echoed this sentiment, telling Independent.ie: "They struck when I was with another customer. I just turned my back for two minutes. It is a huge painting. It is not the sort of thing you can hide in your bag."

The print is valued at approximately €300, however the original version of the painting, which took over three months to paint, cost much more than that.

Mr O'Loughlin added: "Of course I am annoyed, but I am relieved it was not the original. It took three and a half months to paint with the tattoo taking a good proportion of that. We don't do many prints, so it is frustrating. I don't hold out much hope of getting it back unfortunately.

"The print would have been around €300. [For the original] I've been offered €7,000 for it but turned it down. I would like to hang on to it, unless of course Conor himself came looking for it".

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