Gallery ram raided
Claudia Aalderink houses people’s hearts and souls.
So when ram raiders came crashing into her Waikato art gallery early yesterday morning, her first thoughts were for the works of the 100 Kiwi artists she showcases.
‘‘Nothing has been stolen, which is awesome, because I was really worried for the people’s work I look after and I feel very responsible for that,’’ Aalderink said as she swept up the mess at dawn. ‘‘They’re very precious.’’
A car was driven through the front glass windows of the The Mandarin Tree gallery and garden on Gordonton’s main drag at 12.30am yesterday, Waikato police Senior Sergeant Ray Malcolmson said.
The vehicle narrowly missed hitting Oamaru stone carvings perched on pillars at the entrance. It appeared the fleeting would-be thieves had gone straight for the till.
‘‘But I don’t keep any cash on the premises,’’ Aalderink said.
The handcrafted sculptures and one-of-a-kind paintings mostly remained intact, she said, except for the odd breakage and scattered glass through the store. Aalderink was asleep and woke to the news at 3am.
‘‘On my drive over here, I was crying in the car, wondering what I was going to find when I got here. There’s been a few small breakages and smaller items but that’s all salvageable.’’
The artist has run the quaint gallery on the main highway through Gordonton for the last three years. She stocks her own works along with artists from as far south as Dunedin.
‘‘It’s quite hard for a small business to keep its head above water anyway these days and then to have these things, it’s a real hassle, especially before Christmas.’’
Metal bars behind the old wood and glass doors seemed to have slowed the car down, but the damage was evident, she said.
‘‘They must think there was a lot of money in the art gallery, but there’s not.’’
Claudia Aalderink cleans up the mess from a ram raid at her art gallery on Tuesday night.