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Accused Art Thief Pleads Guilty

By Carla Branch

Sharon Walker has pleaded guilty to six counts of grand larceny for stealing art work in Old Town.

Walker, 47, of Washington, D.C., entered the guilty plea in Alexandria Circuit Court late last week. She was charged with stealing paintings, sculptures and antiques from Old Town stores and galleries between March and October of last year.

Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Molly Sullivan presented the facts in the case, which were generally agreed to by the defendant as part of the plea. Walker stole items from Old Town establishments during the daytime when there were other customers and employees around. On March 13, she stole a painting of kittens and a butterfly from Studio Antiques and Fine Arts. It was valued at $2,150. She sold it for $300 and told police that it had been her favorite.

On April 7, Walker stole a glass sculpture, valued at $8,950 from P&C Art Gallery. Walker told police that the sculpture was one of a pair. Her friend, Leon Black, stole the sculpture from the Old Town location and then Walker and Black went to the P&C location in Georgetown and stole the matching piece.

On Oct. 13, Walker stole an antique porcelain vase from James Wilhoit’s antique shop. It was valued at $2,000. On Oct. 22, Walker stole an oil painting from Studio Antique and Fine Art, Inc. It was valued at $1,450. Walker recalled selling this painting to a liquor store owner in the District. It was recovered.

October 22, was a busy day. Walker also stole another oil painting of pears from The Principle Gallery, valued at $1,500. This painting was also recovered from a buyer in D.C.

Finally, on Oct. 24, Walker stole an antique silver teapot, valued at $1,200, from Gallery Orlov.

POLICE ARRESTED Walker after obtaining her image from a surveillance camera at Studio Antiques and Fine Art. Police released the image after the Oct. 22, incident. Detective Tom Buckley received an anonymous call, identifying Walker as the woman on the video. She was arrested on Dec. 3. She made a complete confession at that time.

Walker will be sentenced in April.