Up to 12 red glass reeds designed by Dale Chihuly were stolen from the Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden in Coral Gables, Florida. The large hand-blown glass reeds were taken during a severe storm on April 11. Each glass sculpture may be worth over $10,000. This is the second time the reeds have been stolen from the Fairchild, but the reeds were discovered after an anonymous tip.
Regardless of the artistic merit we may place on the glass sculptures, they are very beautiful and colorful objects, and very valuable. Selling them will be the most difficult task for the thieves. It might not be as hard as we might think though. I wonder how unique the reeds really are. I know some of the Chihuly displays are eventually sold to the public, and these kind of red reeds have been displayed all over the world (at least based on a simple google images search they seem to be). I wonder how many of them there may be. Of course the thieves could have wanted them for personal use as well.
The glass sculptures were found in a vacant lot less than a mile away. The Police think they recovered all of them and that they were just thrown away and discarded. This looks less like an art theft and more like art-defacement. Were the vandals commenting on the artistic merit of the glass sculptures? There were replaced by plastic pipes.