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NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) – Tuesday afternoon during business hours at approximately 3:15 p.m. the Rodrigue Gallery (730 Royal Street) was burglarized by an unknown suspect.

The alleged thief stole the painting “Wendy and Me” valued at $250k directly off the wall of the gallery’s current retrospective celebrating George Rodrigue’s career. The sentimental painting depicted the artist George Rodrigue as a blue dog wearing a tuxedo standing next to his wife Wendy in a wedding gown. The piece was painted as George and Wendy’s wedding invitation.

Surveillance video shows the man walk up to the painting, briefly look around, snatch the artwork off the wall, and walk out passing customers who were also inside the gallery.

“It was a very busy day at the gallery. We released a new print yesterday (Monday) so lots of people were here picking them up, buying them, and so he really picked the perfect, and got really lucky, I think, to walk out without anyone noticing,” says Jacques Rodrigue, son of the late artist George Rodrigue.

“We are disappointed that someone would brazenly steal such a special piece of art from Dad’s retrospective. We are confident that the hard-working officers of the New Orleans Police Department will safely recover this piece that is so important to our family,” Jacques Rodrigue said.

The theft comes as tension escalates among some French Quarter residents demanding more police protection, yet Jacques Rodrigue is confident. In the past 25 years, the Rodrigue family says a similar scene unfolded once before at the Royal Street art gallery and the stolen artwork was eventually recovered.

“If anyone out there in the public recognizes him, i don’t know if he’s a tourist, we don’t know if he’s local, but please contact authorities because we really need to get this painting back,” says Jaques Rodrigue.

NOPD describe the suspect as a white male, full beard, 5’8” tall, weighing approximately 165 pounds.

Watch the surveillance video here: