Punk band Stereo Fire Empire recover £166,000 stolen painting

The group found the artwork propped against the wall of a venue in New Orleans

A punk band called Stereo Fire Empire helped to recover a stolen painting worth £166,000.

The band had just played a show at the House of Blues in their hometown of New Orleans when they spotted the artwork propped against the wall of the venue, reports BBC News. The painting, Wendy and Me, by local artist George Rodrigue – who passed away in 2013 – was stolen from George Rodrigue Studios on January 6 by a man who took the work off the wall in broad daylight and walked out of the gallery.

The band handed the painting, along with a print called Three Amigos which they also found, to the police. Guitarist Evan Diez commented: “I collect discarded art and things like that. Even if it’s just a frame, I’ll pick it up. I saw those canvases and had to check them out.”

Singer John Kennedy added: “His face was ghost white – jaw dropped, like, ‘you don’t understand – this is a $250,000 piece of artwork.'” The thief is still at large, but yesterday (January 7) George Rodrigue’s son Jacques thanked the band at a press conference, saying: “We’re so thankful to the good Samaritans for bringing it back.”