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Thieves nab Law School oil painting

A painting worth at least $16,000 that has been the subject of jokes by Law students during past years was stolen off a wall at the School of Law.

The painting, by Virginia artist Stephen Fox, is called "Couples" and depicts two dogs in a residential neighborhood.

The painting disappeared from the wall of the first floor of Withers Hall either late Sunday night or early Monday morning, said Denise Forster, School of Law media representative.

Forster said the theft was most likely the work of more than one person, since the painting is extremely large.

"One person could not have carried it out and seen where they were going," she said.

Cordel Faulk, Honor Committee vice chairman for services and Law student, said Law students commonly refer to the painting, which was featured on a T-shirt last year, as "Hell Hounds."

"It is the subject of a lot of conversation at the Law School," Faulk said.

School of Law Prof. Glen Robinson said the painting is both loved and hated by Law students.

Forster said the painting features "powerful-looking, intense dogs."

She said the painting is only one of many works of art in the School of Law. The School of Law has undergone intensive redecoration, paid for with private funding.

The School of Law has not experienced an art theft problem before, she added.

University Police are investigating the incident.

Capt. Mike Coleman said the investigation is ongoing.

"At this time there are no suspects," Coleman said.

Despite jokes about the art, Faulk said he did not feel Law students would steal the painting as a prank.

"I honestly think it's totally out of character for any Law School student to steal the painting," he said.

Robinson also said he does not feel the theft was a joke.

"What are they going to do, display [the painting] in the Dome Room?" he said.

Faulk said the culprits, if caught and if they are University students, could face Honor charges.


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