This photo provided to the Empire by Kaye Peters shows Tlingit paddles in action during the Glacier Valley Elementary School's 2008 production of "Tides and the Tempest." The paddles and other artwork were reported missing from the school's library Jan. 17 and police announced Friday they have been recovered.

This photo provided to the Empire by Kaye Peters shows Tlingit paddles in action during the Glacier Valley Elementary School's 2008 production of "Tides and the Tempest." The paddles and other artwork were reported missing from the school's library Jan. 17 and police announced Friday they have been recovered.

Police recover school’s stolen artwork

More than a month after Native artwork went missing from an elementary school library, some pieces are finding their way back home.

Juneau Police Department officers served a search warrant at a residence in the 6900 block of Sunny Drive where pieces of stolen artwork created by Glacier Valley students were discovered, according to a police in a news release. The art went missing Jan. 17 from the school’s library.

JPD spokesman Lt. David Campbell told the Empire by phone Friday a 26-year-old woman was caught on camera carrying the pieces out while after-school activities were taking place and the school was open.

Police said they contacted the woman Feb. 29 and from there learned a third-party was holding the pieces.

Campbell said only some of the artwork was obtained during the search warrant. The third-party involved (whom police did not name) later handed over the others voluntarily. The artwork recovered by way of the search warrant will be kept as evidence by police as the investigation continues, Campbell said. The pieces voluntarily returned, however, have been returned to the school.

The art pieces included three Tlingit paddles, a 4-foot-tall Tlingit walking stick and an Iñupiaq mask from Barrow. Librarian Kaye Peters previously told the Empire the paddles and walking stick were made by students in 2008 for a school production of “Tides and the Tempest,” and were displayed in the library ever since.

“Everything that was taken was pretty priceless to us here at Glacier Valley,” Peters said earlier.

Peters could not be reached for comment Friday to say which pieces were returned to the school.

Campbell said police have not yet filed charges against the woman seen on camera carrying out the artwork, which had an estimated value of $500. Until charges are filed, police will not release her name. Campbell did say if a charge is filed later it would likely be a misdemeanor because the estimated value of the artwork was not more than $500.

***

State statues say if the value of stolen property and services is between $50 and $500, it’s an A misdemeanor; anything above $500 is considered a felony.)

The investigation into the artwork is ongoing and the 26-year-old woman is still only considered a suspect, Campbell said.

• Contact reporter Paula Ann Solis at 523-2272 or paula.solis@juneauempire.com.

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