SAN FRANCISCO (KTVU) - San Francisco Police are looking for help in solving a theft that took place at an art gallery in the Jackson Square neighborhood near the Transamerica Building.
It's an area full of upscale shops, many sell antiques. The owner of Foster Gwin Gallery says he thinks the theft happened while he was in the store.
"We have never had a theft in 26 years," said Collier Gwin, the shop owner. But during the first weekend of this month, he says the front door was left ajar when he and two employees were moving sheetrock and other items into the store for a remodeling project.
"Somebody must have seen us moving things in and out. We were vulnerable. It would take just one minute. They dashed in, grabbed the pieces. Maybe they had a backpack," says Gwin.
He says it wasn't until Monday when he returned to the store that he noticed the antiques were gone.
"It was a perfect storm kind of a thing. It was like a hit and run," said Gwin.
The stolen items include three vases from Greece dating back to 6th Century B.C. and two lacquered boxes from Japan from the 1800s.
Gwin says most of the pieces are about eight inches tall and weigh less than a pound. The total value is estimated at $50,000.
"You always feel vulnerable when something happens like that. It's always a little scary," says Gwin.
On August 1, just steps from Gwin's shop, someone broke the window of Daniel Stein antiques and stole items there, including silver candlesticks.
Police say they have not ruled out a link between the two incidents nor other possibilities such as whether this could be an inside job or someone who works in the area.
"You never know where the investigation could lead , the suspects in this case could be responsible for the one just down the street," said Officer Grace Gatpandan with San Francisco Police.
Gwin says the front door is locked even during business hour and that patrons have to be buzzed in.
He says he has an alarm system and motion detectors. Gwin plans to install surveillance cameras inside and out.
"Getting with the new world, we'll be getting more security than in the past," says Gwin.
Police say they are looking at surveillance video from nearby businesses.