Tammy Bremer, adjunct professor of art and visual culture, is once again in possession of her latch-hook rug, stolen from the Miller Fine Arts Gallery Oct. 8, 2007.
The return of the rug came much to the amazement of both Linfield Campus Safety and the artist herself.
The artwork, a revealing self-portrait rug, was recovered by a local McMinnville citizen who recognized the work in a dumpster while taking out his trash on South Ford Street. He immediately called LCS and returned the rug. Overall, it took about 20 minutes to collect the rug, from the initial phone call to when the rug was back on campus. The citizen wishes to remain anonymous.
Director of Campus Safety Mike Dressel credited the recovery to good police work and getting the word out.
“We went through the normal steps to recover stolen property—rewards, posters, things like that,” Dressel said. “A lot of it was just dotting our ‘i’s and crossing our ‘t’s. We were never really thinking we were getting it back. It just doesn’t really happen all that often.”
Dressel said LCS received calls from several news stations, including those in Portland, asking for information about the stolen art work, which helped in its recovery.
“This time, it paid off,” Dressel said. “The fact that the news media took a hold of the story back (in October) really helped.”
Bremer said she was relieved when she got the phone call.
“I was pretty much ecstatic,” she said. “I never thought I’d get it back.”
The rug, which was slightly protected by the plastic bag it was found in, was still water-laden from the torrential downpours that had hit McMinnville. After the rug was given to LCS, it was decided it had to be restored before any further action could be taken.
The local citizen who found the rug received a $500 reward, which he was happy about, Dressel said.
Since the initial theft in October, additional security measures have been put in place on campus, especially in the gallery. As of now, there is a security monitor who guards the entrance while the gallery is open. The gallery is also in the process of installing security cameras, in conjunction with Integrated Technology Services. The plan is to have the cameras installed and operational before the end of the semester.
Bremer said she would like to see a monitor actually sitting the gallery area before she decided to show her work there again.