Virginia artist says a $700 vase was stolen from her booth at the Peter Anderson Fest

A Virginia artist wants to find the man who swiped a $700 hand-crafted vase from her booth at the Peter Anderson Festival.

“I would just like to ask him why and invite him to my studio to come and try to make something like that and see how hard it is,” said Amber Rose, the Lexington-based artist and owner of Earth, Fire and Spirit Pottery. “I want him to appreciate what he stole.”

The man grabbed the vase off of its pedestal in the booth and walked away. The theft happened shortly before noon Sunday as Rose and two others helped customers.

“That was a very brazen act of theft so it probably wasn’t the first time he stole something,” Rose said. “I do want him arrested.”

Rose reported the theft to Ocean Springs police and posted about it on her professional Facebook page.

The Facebook post was shared thousands of times and prompted tips from two witnesses, one of whom was loyal customer.

The customer happened to be eating at Government Street Grocery across from Rose’s booth when she saw the suspect. She noticed him right away because she had just been admiring the vase.

Another witness saw the suspect walking south on Bellande Avenue near First Baptist Church around noon Sunday.

“It caught my eye because it was a big piece of pottery and it was beautiful,” the witness said in Facebook post. “I don’t remember much about the guy holding it except he was struggling to hold his beer. He had other stuff in his arms in addition to your piece.”

The suspect had so many items in his hands that the second witness said it looked like he was about to spill a beer he was carrying.

The suspect is white man, believed to be in his 40s and about 6-feet-tall with a stocky build and short strawberry blonde hair. He had on sunglasses and had on what appeared to be a faded red-orange T-shirt.

Rose hopes the suspect is found and the vase is returned.

“If he gets away with it, he’s going to keep doing it,” Rose said.

To report tips, call the Ocean Springs Police Department at 228-875-2211 or Mississippi Coast Crime Stoppers at 877-787-5898.

Margaret Baker is an investigative reporter whose search for truth exposed corrupt sheriffs, a police chief and various jailers and led to the first prosecution of a federal hate crime for the murder of a transgendered person. She worked on the Sun Herald’s Pulitzer Prize-winning Hurricane Katrina team. When she pursues a big story, she is relentless.