Art thief caught on Sick Kids surveillance

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A young Toronto photo-artist was left stunned by the news that a brazen thief had stolen his nine original prints from the Hospital for Sick Children.

“I’d never think that anything like that would ever happen,” Darren Rigo said Tuesday.

“I just hope they get them back,” he said, after Toronto Police released full-face photos of the thief casually wheeling the prints from the University Ave. hospital on April 19.

In the latest reported theft from a GTA hospital, the surveillance photos show the neatly-dressed, slender, dark-haired crook strolling along a corridor, staring at blank walls.

Another photo shows him with nine 46-by-46-cm framed prints on a trolley, pushing it towards an exit.

“They were taken from walls,” Const. Wendy Drummond said.

Each picture has a different letter — S, M, R, C, P, F, O, A and W — which were formed from colour photos of objects including medical instruments. A plaque with the name of the artist, was also stolen.

Ironically, visitors had only a few weeks to enjoy the Ontario College of Art and Design graduate’s work, which Rigo said took him a year to conceive and prepare, after he and two other artists received commissions to produce artwork for Sick Kids.

“It was just installed since mid-March,” along with copies for hospital fund-raising projects, he said.

Rigo, who lives in downtown Toronto, specializes in photographs of natural landscapes.

But the stolen prints draw upon nine different aspects of life at the hospital, including items that represent “people repairing machines” and treating patients, he said. “I approached it from an infrastructure viewpoint.”

There is one piece of good news — Rigo has the digital records and said he could easily replace the prints.

The bold thief, who faces a charge of theft over $5,000, drove off in a Mercedes-Benz.

Police described him as white, 6 feet tall with a medium build, dark-brown hair, and glasses with dark frames. He was clean-shaven, wore a dark long-sleeve shirt, dark pants, and black shoes. He may have left in a light-coloured four-door Mercedes.

Drummond said this is not the first theft of artwork from a Toronto hospital which — like some schools — “have collections.”

Anyone with information should contact Det. Rinkoff at 416-808-5204, Crime Stoppers anonymously at 416-222-TIPS (8477), or online at


Toronto area hospitals have been targeted in recent weeks by thieves who made off with artwork, patients’ possessions, even a nurse’s bicycle.

  • April 19: A neatly-dressed thief stole nine photo-art prints from the walls of Sick Kids Hospital — as a security camera clearly caught his face while in the act.
  • April 17: Toronto Police from the financial crime unit issue a public warning about crooks ripping off ATM-users at eight GTA hospitals by downloading bank card data via skimming devices and pinhole cameras. Victims used machines at Sick Kids, North York General, Scarborough General and Toronto East General, Toronto West General, Oakville Trafalgar, Lakeridge Health-Bowmanville and SouthLake Health Centre.
  • April 16: Toronto General Hospital nurse Lisa Crellin’s $1,000 men’s red-and-black Raleigh Revenio bicycle — her mode of transportation to and from work — was stolen. Her U-lock and cable lock were cut but still attached to an iron post when she finished a 12-hour shift.
  • April 5: Police release the photo of Russell Gordon Scott, 52, who they said was being sought for a string of thefts at Toronto East General Hospital and Princess Margaret Hospital. A 54 Division detective said Tuesday the suspect is still at large.
  • April: During the first week of April, a purse with a wallet inside was reported stolen from a patient’s room at Princess Margaret Hospital.
  • March 20, 30 & 31: A heavy-set man went on a robbery spree, targeting unknowing patients at Toronto East General Hospital. His image was caught by security cameras as he sauntered around stealing purses and wallets — and 54 Div. officers still hope someone will blow the whistle and call them.