Stolen paintings returned

Published 12:00 am Thursday, April 28, 2011

By Shelley Smith
SALISBURY — Five years ago, someone broke into the studio of local artist and magician Glen Yost and took off with four of his Dale Earnhardt paintings — paintings he donates every year to a John Boy and Billy charity auction.
On Monday, a complete stranger walked up to his shop and returned the four paintings, still in mint condition.
Yost said he was sitting in a front room of his studio talking to a customer, and saw a man walk by.
“I don’t remember ever seeing him before,” Yost said.
A little while later he saw the man sitting on the steps in front of the studio, and he waved at him, and Yost waved back.
Eventually the man came up the steps and inside the studio.
“He said, ‘Remember when you had some paintings stolen?’ ” Yost said. “He said, ‘My sister bought the paintings from some guy on the street and gave them to me.’
“Then that day he saw the report on the television. When he realized they were stolen, he said he stuck them in the back of his closet. He didn’t want anyone to know he had them.”
Yost said he asked him why he returned them five years later.
“He said they had a family Easter gathering, and his sister asked him about it,” Yost said. “He decided he would come by here and bring them back to me.”
So the man left and came back 30 minutes later with the paintings — all in excellent condition, and all but one still in the frame.
But other things went missing that day that Yost fears he’ll never get back — a letter from his wife’s father that was in a briefcase and a 1970 black custom Les Paul guitar.
“The letter is a very valuable thing that we’ll never get back,” he said.
And the guitar, he says, fed his family for years.
“I made a living with it for many years,” he said. “I’d love somebody to walk back in with that.”
Yost said good news does happen sometimes, and being a magician, called Monday “extremely magical.”
“That made my day,” he said. “It took a lot of guts for him to come in here and do what he did. And I thanked him for it and hugged his neck.”