Raccoons ransack Newport art gallery - KPTV - FOX 12

Raccoons ransack Newport art gallery

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Police caught some unusual visitors inside a Newport art gallery early Wednesday morning.

The four “masked bandits” were raccoons that had been getting into the gallery after-hours more than a few times, according to the gallery owner.

Late Tuesday night a passerby saw the animals in the front window of the gallery Inscapes and called police.

Gallery owner Cris Torp said the raccoons would just take the stairs right up to the top of the building and get in through the roof vents.

Torp said it has been a problem for a long time. The raccoons live in the hills behind the gallery and were frequent, almost daily, visitors.

One of the roof vents at the gallery was recently sealed, but that left another vent for the animals to come in through. So last week, they sealed that one as well.

What Torp didn't realize, though, was that the raccoons were already in a crawl space in the gallery, becoming trapped inside in the process, and the animals were so small that they didn't even set off the alarm.

"We were already in bed, came down and got this call. They said it's going to be horrible because these raccoons are in the gallery,” he said.

Torp thinks the raccoons had already been inside about two hours when that passerby saw them in the window.

He said they were very relieved there wasn't more damage, since there is a lot of glass inside that could have easily been broken.

"They'd tried to rearrange some artwork, and it was by a balsam wood boat that was made by a local artist and that even survived the onslaught,” Torp said.

The police department had a little fun with the case, posting updates on Facebook, even giving the raccoons nicknames.

The picture posted by Newport police showing the masked bandits caught in the act is getting a lot of attention in particular, being shared by almost a thousand in just a day.

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