$8K in pottery stolen from visiting artist couple during ABQ delivery | KOB 4

$8K in pottery stolen from visiting artist couple during ABQ delivery

Casey Torres
September 22, 2018 10:27 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – A Jemez Pueblo couple lost their livelihood in Albuquerque when their prize-winning collection of pottery was stolen, along with their SUV.


Ben Toya was in southeast Albuquerque last weekend looking for a client when he says thieves jumped in his car and drove away.

"It really hurts, only because, you know, all the hard work you put into it and for somebody to just take it out of your hands—that's part of our livelihood," said Geraldine Toya, Ben's wife.

Ben Toya was making a delivery to a potential buyer who was interested in their pottery collection. He said he was looking for directions when some crooks opened the door, punched him and dragged him down the street as they drove off in his SUV.

"We retrieved our vehicle the day after the incident," Geraldine said. "(It was) trashed inside, (and) all our important pieces of work – art that we worked hard for – was missing."

About 40 pieces in all were taken, amounting to about $8,000, according to the Toyas.

They said the pieces can be identified via their ringed flower logo and intertwined signature of "B.G. Toya," along with "Jemez, New Mexico."

For now, though, all they can do is wait for someone to come forward.

"We need to stay strong," Geraldine Toya said. "Be strong and continue and do what we do to still survive and survive for our children and our family."

As a result of the incident, the couple says they're rethinking out-of-town deliveries. If anyone wants a piece of their pottery in the future, they'll have to visit them in the Jemez to pick it up.


Casey Torres

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