South Australian police say a man has been reported for theft after he allegedly stole a painting — which is still missing — from a hospital in Adelaide’s north.

Key points:

  • A large painting has been stolen from the cardiology unit at the Lyell McEwin Hospital
  • Police say a man has been reported for theft over the incident, but the painting has not been found
  • Cardiology staff, who bought the painting for the hospital, say they are “devastated”

SA Police allege a man entered the cardiology unit at the Lyell McEwin Hospital about 1pm last Thursday, and stole a large painting.

Police said the man was captured on CCTV strapping the painting to the roof of his VZ Commodore before driving away.

Police said a 38-year-old Salisbury Heights man has been reported for theft and possessing a prohibited weapon after police allegedly located an extendable baton inside his home.

The man will appear in the Elizabeth Magistrates Court at a later date.

The 1.2 metre painting has not been located and anyone who knows its whereabouts has been urged to contact Crime Stoppers.

The painting had been purchased by staff to brighten the walls of the cardiology unit waiting room.(Supplied: The Hospital Research Foundation)

The painting, titled Wally the Galah, was purchased by the cardiology team from The Hospital Research Foundation in 2022.

It had previously been displayed at the hospital as part of an exhibition of seven paintings by former Adelaide artist Kelly Batsiokis.

At the time, the Northern Adelaide Local Health Network’s cardiology director, Associate Professor Margaret Arstall, said she “loved the collection” when it was displayed adjacent to the department during the exhibition.

“I wanted to share this beautiful painting and keep it visible for everyone to enjoy even after the exhibition was over, so I decided to display him in our departmental patient waiting room,” she had said.

Today, Associate Professor Arstall said the painting had made the waiting room “a beautiful and stress-reducing place to be”.

She said cardiology staff were “devastated” by the alleged theft and said they were working closely with police.

“We would love to have Wally returned safely to us,” she said.

Former Adelaide artist Kelly Batsiokis painted the work as part of a series of seven.(Facebook: Kelly Batsiokis Art)

Ms Batsiokis told ABC Radio Adelaide this morning that hospital staff became “bonded with that particular painting”.

“It’s an incredible shame and I know that there is a lot of people who are really disappointed by this completely brazen act,” she said. 

Ms Batsiokis said the work was so large it would not fit in a “standard car”.

“It’s massive, it’s cumbersome,” she said.