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Lindauer paintings may be damaged

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 2/04/2017

Auckland police fear two iconic paintings stolen in a brazen ram-raid over the weekend may have been damaged as they hunt for the late-model getaway car and two men in their 20s.

The 1884 Gottfried Lindauer oil paintings, "Chieftainess Ngatai-Raure" and "Chief Ngatai-Raure", were taken from the International Art Centre in Parnell early on Saturday morning.

Valued at between $350,000 and $450,000 each, they were due to go to auction on Tuesday.

CCTV footage from a store opposite obtained by media suggests a ute was backed through the gallery window.

"We believe there's a possibility that just because of the way the burglary occurred, that there could be some damage to those paintings," Detective Inspector Scott Beard told RNZ on Monday morning.

The ute, earlier stolen from Parnell, had been forensically examined, he said.

Police believed the getaway vehicle was a white 2016 Holden Commodore SSV6.

The two men involved are both believed to be in their 20s.

The first has pale skin and a medium build, is wearing a black sweatshirt with a white logo, a black hat with a white logo on the front, a red or orange bandana, white shorts, white ankle socks and black shoes with a white sole and red or orange laces.

The second man is taller than the first man and was wearing a black hooded zipped sweat shirt, light-coloured bandana, black gloves, black pants with a white stripe down the side and dark-coloured shoes with white soles.

"Someone out there in the community will know who they are," Det Insp Beard said.

He wouldn't go into whether it was a political or opportunistic theft.

"We'll go down the track that the evidence takes us."

Interpol has been informed of the burglary.

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