South Philly artist looking for answers after artwork stolen

A South Philly artist is looking for answers about how a piece of his work was stolen from the University of Penn Medical building.

It happened April 4 just after 1 p.m.

"How could that happen without someone saying hey wait what are you doing?" said Timothy Barton. He's an artist and loves that people are interested in his work but what happened to one of his pieces he just can't believe.

"He took it off the wall, he walked out the door with it and then they said they also had video of him getting on the train at University City," said Tim.

Someone stole a special piece he created from a showing inside the University of Penn's Perelman Center where it had been for the past seven months.

"It was absolutely not believable. I couldn't understand why anyone one would do it because it's not like I'm a super well-known artist or anything. So why would they risk stealing something?" Tim specializes in boxes with found art.

The stolen piece featured license plates he accumulated while in the Navy Submarine Force.

"When you move from place to place your license plates kind of comes with you and I had been keeping them in a shoe box for 34 years," he said. "I finally figured out I could take these switch plate covers from Home Depot or Loews and do a painting or aging on them and pair them with these license plates," said Tim.

Someone walked right out of a busy medical building and past several security guards. No questions asked.

"It's not like you can stick it under your coat. You'd be like a billboard. Exactly. You'd be bill boarding it," we both said. Parting with it through a sale would be hard enough but a thief?

"There's memories in each of these different states that I've lived in and stuff and it's gone. There's no way to get that back," he said.

University of Penn police tell FOX 29's Shawnette Wilson they're handling the investigation.

FOX 29 is told the thief was dressed in a black and had a black bookbag with white lettering on it. We called but were unable to get the surveillance video from police Monday.