Cameras catch man returning Chihuly art, talking to bystander

- Police released a new lead in the case of a stolen piece of Chihuly art Wednesday.

Video of the person they say dropped the stolen piece off in a box outside the Morean Arts Center reveals the suspect may have chatted with a man standing near a limousine minutes afterward.

Police were looking for the 'limo man,' who they said is not in trouble, but may hold the key to figuring out who dropped off the $25,000 piece two days after it was lifted from the Chihuly gallery on Beach Drive. He could be seen standing outside a limo at 8th Street N. and 1st Avenue S. after midnight on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, police said they have identified a suspect in the Chihuly theft, but they want one more piece to link him to the crime.

"As we can tell, he has longer, blonde hair," Det. Brett McKean said.

He showed reporters the surveillance video on Wednesday afternoon. Police think the suspect may have gotten a ride to the State Theater.

"Our suspect is walking away from the scene," said McKean. "He turns back around and engages in conversation with this gentleman."

The encounter with the man lasts for 10 seconds, and police have no clue what they talked about.

What 'limo man' doesn't know is that he was face-to-face with someone who had just left a box containing blown glass artwork by Dale Chihuly, worth $25,000, at the doorstep of the Morean Arts Center.

He saw the suspect's face, which was blocked as the suspect made the drop off.

"We just want him to come in so he can help us in identifying," said McKean.

Even without 'limo man,' police have made headway, saying video from inside the Beach Drive gallery on Sunday may show the same man acting suspiciously.

They are also analyzing DNA and they do have a suspect's name. It could even be an inside job,

"It seems just kind of interesting that the person would take it from the Chihuly Museum and drop it off at the Morean," said McKean. "To know that those two are connected, it's just something we are trying to figure out."

Police say 'limo man' turned and walked away when the suspect did.

"Our art district is huge," said McKean. "It is great for our city. It brings a lot of population here, a lot of tourists, it's good for our economy. We want to make sure the person that took this is brought to justice."

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