Native jewelry worth $100K stolen from Arizona artist stopping in ABQ | KOB 4

Native jewelry worth $100K stolen from Arizona artist stopping in ABQ

Native jewelry worth $100K stolen from Arizona artist stopping in ABQ

Kai Porter
October 27, 2018 03:44 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – A couple from Arizona probably wishes they hadn't stopped in Albuquerque on their way through New Mexico, after a thief stole $100,000 worth of their handmade Native American jewelry.


On Monday afternoon, Abraham Begay and his wife were on their way back home to Flagstaff after attending an art show in Oklahoma. They decided to stop in Albuquerque and eat lunch at a restaurant near Menaul and University.  

As the couple ate lunch, a thief smashed their car's window and grabbed a suitcase containing Begay's irreplaceable Native American jewelry collection.

"It was heartbreaking," Begay said. "I had a lot of jewelry. The whole briefcase was full of it."

Begay made each piece by hand. He says, all in all, the stolen jewelry is worth about $100,000.

"I just don't have no money. Not even just to buy materials to make some more stuff. We're just praying for something good, that we'll hear something pretty soon," he said.

This isn't the first time thieves in Albuquerque have stolen Native artwork. Earlier this month a couple from Jemez Pueblo found their stolen pottery collection for sale at a shop in old town. 

The store said it bought the art from a Native American woman claiming to be the artist.

As for the stolen jewelry, Begay says either his name or initials are marked on most of the jewelry, a distinction he's hoping will lead to the return of his work.

"That would be a blessing," he said. "I don't know if that's going to happen. With the kind of jewelry, I'm sure someone's trying to sell it somewhere or would like to keep it. I don't know. But I'm praying I will hear something. If I could at least get two or three pieces back I would feel good."

The couple's daughter posted pictures of the stolen jewelry on Facebook offering a reward for its return. It's since been shared more than 100 times.


Kai Porter

Copyright 2018 KOB-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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