PITTSBURGH (AP/KDKA) — Artwork valued in the thousands of dollars was stolen from several artists over the weekend at the Three Rivers Arts Festival downtown.

The thefts occurred in the cover of darkness, between Saturday night and Sunday morning. The artists then arrived to find their works gone.

The festival has 24-hour security, and it’s not clear how some of the larger pieces were stolen without anyone noticing.

Photo Credit: KDKA Photojournalist Ian Smith

KDKA spoke to some artists whose work was stolen. They said despite what happened, they are remaining optimistic and believe that they will still be successful this festival year.

“It hurts a little bit in the gut,” said Chris Jackson.

Jackson and Laura Junge were back at their booth Monday morning, organizing and getting ready for the day.

They were one of the four artists hit by the alleged thieves at Point State Park. More than $3,000 worth of work now gone.

It was shocking for the pair to discover someone went through their tent and stole four pictures.

“Just cause one person does an evil thing doesn’t mean it’s going to happen again,” said Junge.

And workers with the Three Rivers Arts Festival are making sure it won’t happen again.

In a statement, the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust called the thefts “an unfortunate occurrence,” but are adding extra security measures.

The full statement from the festival’s Director of Communications Robin Elrod reads: “These thefts are an unfortunate occurrence that is highly out of the ordinary for the Dollar Bank Three Rivers Arts Festival. The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust always implements security 24 hours a day during the Festival. Since learning of this activity, we have alerted our on-site staff, volunteers, and security partners in the city to be on special lookout for these acts and have dedicated further resources to security in the Artist Market area. If anyone sees something suspicious in the area, we encourage them to alert our public safety team, which can be reached in the public safety tent at the entrance of Point State Park or by calling 911.”

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

KDKA noticed some of the extra security measures this morning. Several guards with flashlights were patrolling the area, checking out each and every booth from front to back.

Jackson and Junge noticed it too.

They tell us they’re remaining positive, even though it wasn’t an easy experience.

“You can’t let it get you down. You just have to look at the positive side of things, karma will come around and treat us well, and it’s a great show, we love coming here,” said Jackson.

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