Police recover stolen artwork, arrest two suspects after 10 On Your Side report

(Joe Fisher/WAVY Photo)

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va, (WAVY) — Five paintings stolen from the Boardwalk Art Show nearly two weeks ago have been recovered and two people are facing grand larceny charges in connection with the theft.

In the days following 10 On Your Side’s June 20 report, David Gwaltney says he got a call from police.

“She said, ‘We recovered your work,'” Gwaltney recalls. “I thought they were probably long gone.”

Christian Eckard (Photo: Virginia Beach police)

Gwaltney says he noticed six paintings missing after he left his tent at the Boardwalk Art Show unattended and unlocked overnight on June 17.

The paintings taken are digital artworks he creates on his iPad using an app. Gwaltney prints and frames the pieces at his home.

“The detective did tell me they had seen it on TV and then got extremely nervous about it,” he said.

One of the tips led officers to a Virginia Beach home, where they found the frames in near perfect condition.

Police say they believe Christian Eckard, 22, and a 17-year-old male are behind the crime.

After careful consideration, Gwaltney says he decided to press charges against both suspects.

“I don’t do this for a full time living, but a lot of these artists do and if they had stolen from them, a lot of these people work the circuits, and that’s their livelihood,” said Gwaltney. 

The paintings will now go back on the market, which are valued at roughly $1,500. Gwaltney hopes the suspects arrested pay a different price.

“I’d like to see them put something back to the community to get something out of it,” he said. “I’d hate to have to see them be thrown in jail, and in other words spending time and not learning anything.”

Police will not release the 17-year-old’s name because he is a juvenile. Eckard will be arraigned June 29.