A CAR thief got more than he bargained for when he stole David McAllister’s Land Rover.
In the back was a £9,000 aluminium sculpture that artist David had hidden there – in a bid to stop it being stolen.
The 3ft-high sculpture – called Apache Pilot – took the 31-year-old three months to create and he fears it will now be melted down.
The work was about to be delivered to Edinburgh’s City Art Centre so it could be included in a four-month travelling exhibition around Scotland.
The thief targeted David’s eight-year-old vehicle in the early hours of Friday morning, taking it from outside his flat in Leith, Edinburgh.
David, who graduated from the city’s art college in 2003, said: “I’m devastated by its loss. The Landrover can be replaced but the sculpture can’t.
“I’m a young artist so to have my work travelling for four months was a great opportunity for me.”
Ironically, David had only placed the sculpture in his car to avoid it becoming a target for thieves after the Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop in Leith, where he does most of his work, was raided.
He said: “A couple of weeks ago the place was robbed. I was in my workshop, which is in a portable cabin outside, at about 12 o clock at night and a couple of guys came in and grabbed as much as they could from the main workshop.
“They took a couple of the more valuable tools.
“It’s part of the reason I didn’t put the piece in the studio because it’s been trashed. I thought it would be safer under a blanket in my Landrover.”
David now fears his precious artwork could end up being sold for scrap.
He said: “I think they will probably take it to a scrap metal dealer but because it’s been powder-coated it’s classed as ‘dirty metal’ and will only be worth about £20.”
But he hopes the piece will be returned to him.
He said: “I’d just be happy to get the sculpture back. That’s the most important thing, to get it back in one piece.”
A police spokesman confirmed they were investigating the theft of a Landrover from John’s Place, Edinburgh, sometime between 1am and 10.30am on Friday, February 24.
He added: “A valuable sculpture was inside the Landrover when it was taken, and police are now appealing for anyone with any information to contact them.
“Inquiries are ongoing, and officers are currently seeking CCTV opportunities in the area.”