Local News

Former lawman accused of stealing own art in Apex

Posted February 6, 2012
Updated February 7, 2012

Map Marker  Find News Near Me

— A former Cary police sergeant is accused of stealing his own art, which was on loan to an Apex restaurant that went out of business. 

Keith Adams was diagnosed with terminal cancer three years ago. A lot of his art work has come from his fight against the disease. 

"That kept the creative fires burning when I was sick," Adams said. 

Recently, Bistro 155, 1402 East Williams St. in Apex, asked him to display 32 pieces of his art on loan. Adams said he was going to be the resident artist there. 

"My art was hanging for sale," Adams said. 

Soon, the restaurant closed and Adams' art was locked inside. Adams said the owner of the building would not return his property. 

"He told me I was no longer the owner," Adams said. 

A few days later, Adams said he returned to the empty building and found the door open. 

"At that time, I repossessed my art. I went in and took it off the wall," he said. 

Adams said he called Apex police so no one would be alarmed. He was shocked when police called him back. He was charged with felony breaking and entering and larceny. 

"I said, 'You are kidding,'" Adams said. "They were not kidding." 

keith adams art Retired officer accused of stealing own art

The artist is familiar with the law. He retired from the Cary Police Department after more than 20 years in law enforcement. He also served on the U.S. Marshals Violence Fugitive Task Force. 

"My property, I had the right to it, and I went and got it. I did not see any issues with that," he said. 

According to warrants, the art is valued at $6,000. 

Adams has a court hearing Feb. 22. 

Attempts by WRAL News to contact the building owner were not successful.

68 Comments

This story is closed for comments.

Oldest First
View all
  • fungod12000 Feb 9, 2012

    My art was hanging for sale," Adams said.

    Thats why he couldn't wait until a court hearing, all his property would be gone to who ever wanted to buy it, and you know he wouldn't have been paid for them.

  • Shamrock Feb 8, 2012

    My little boy saw an Apex police car speeding down the road with the lights on and asked me why he was driving so fast. I told her there must be someone double parked at target.

  • caroexc Feb 7, 2012

    the restaurant "owner" is guilty of attempted theft and obtaining property by false pretense. Adams should have gone to the DA. We have bigger fish to fry than this.

  • Bigbadwolf Feb 7, 2012

    If I loan you my car to go to the store and you wind up selling it to the clerk.....does the clerk legally own my car? The answer is no. Any rookie in Basic Law Enforcement Training knows this is not a felony case.......if its a case at all.

  • dollibug Feb 7, 2012

    ++++not my real name, your assertion that if the door is open it is not breaking and entering is flat-out wrong. The way the courts interpret the law it is breaking OR entering. Even if the door is wide open so you can stroll in it is still entering and thus a violation of the criminal law.
    sinenomine

    In some cases maybe what you said is correct...but I know for a fact that a deceased person's house was broken into and property taken while a Sheriff's deputy was "standing guard" on the outside...and the Sheriff in charge just swept it under the rug...and he is still sheriff...as this happened back in 2004....just saying that things can happen and people who are SUPPOSED TO ENFORCE the law...do NOT always do what they are supposed to do....

  • henrymiller Feb 7, 2012

    If the Apex police have nothing better to do with their time, maybe there are too many Apex cops and the town could save a few bucks by firing some of them.

  • sinenomine Feb 7, 2012

    not my real name, your assertion that if the door is open it is not breaking and entering is flat-out wrong. The way the courts interpret the law it is breaking OR entering. Even if the door is wide open so you can stroll in it is still entering and thus a violation of the criminal law.

  • tootiefrootie Feb 7, 2012

    Hope he has more than a "gentlemens agreement" with the owner/tenant on his artwork.

  • davidk_at_unc Feb 7, 2012

    "if he didn't have a written document saying the stuff was his, then it wasn't his." -- piloterror1

    I don't have a written document proving that the pants I'm wearing today are mine, but that doesn't change the fact that they are.

  • Wendellcatlover Feb 7, 2012

    How ridiculous is this? I'm sure the city and state have more important cases to pursue than this one!

More...