A brazen alleged daylight art heist has hit a major hospital, with police alleging a man strolled into a hospital ward and made off with a big bright painting, attaching it to the roof of his car and driving off.

The bizarre alleged robbery happened about 1pm on December 28 at the Lyell McEwin Hospital in northern Adelaide.

CCTV captured a man entering the cardiology unit of the hospital and allegedly stealing “Wally the Galah”, painted by artist Kelly Batsiokis. Police allege he strapped the painting to the roof of his VZ Commodore and then drove away.

The large, bright artwork features a purplish galah against a yellow-orange background dotted with green, red and blue spots of colour.

Northern Adelaide Local Health Network director of cardiology Margaret Arstall said cardiology staff were devastated by the alleged theft.

“Wally the Galah is an original painting by artist Kelly Batsiokis purchased by the cardiology team from The Hospital Research Foundation in 2022 which made the waiting room in the Lyell McEwin Hospital a beautiful and stress-reducing place to be,” she said.

“We believe Wally was brazenly taken around 1.30pm on Thursday December 28 and all the cardiology staff are devastated.”

Police have arrested a 38-year-old man over the theft, but the paining is still missing.

“Following an investigation, police attended and searched a Salisbury Heights home,” police said on Tuesday.

“A 38-year-old man from the address has been reported for theft and possess prohibited weapon after patrols allegedly located an extendible baton inside.

“However, the painting has not been located.

“Anyone who knows the whereabouts of Wally the Galah is urged to contact Crime Stoppers.”

The alleged thief is booked to appear at Elizabeth Magistrates Court.

Ms Batsiokis, a Brisbane-based artist, expressed her shock at the alleged theft on social media.

“This is not the news I wanted to have to share but I am absolutely shocked that someone has (allegedly) stolen one of my artworks from the Lyell McEwin Cardiology ward in Adelaide,” she said.

“This is not a small painting. He’s 1.2m square and framed in beautiful Tasmanian oak. It wouldn’t even fit in my car!

“Please keep an eye out if you are in Adelaide.”

On Monday, Ms Batsiokis said the man was wearing a high-vis vest during the alleged robbery.

“Where’s Wally?” she wrote.

“Painting is still missing from the Lyell McEwin Cardiology unit.

“The staff are upset. Please just return it.

“CCTV footage of a male in high vis carrying painting out and a vehicle on Thurs 28 December.”

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By Rahul

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