By Kelly Werthmann

DENVER (CBS4)– A sweet tooth, doughnut lover’s paradise became a mean mugging, art thief’s target Tuesday night.

voodoo art stolen pkg frame 507 Voodoo Doughnuts Artwork Stolen, Owners Plead For Its Return

(credit: CBS)

“Why would anybody walk into a doughnut shop to steal artwork? I mean, if anything you just steal the doughnuts,” Brandon Cortez, a Voodoo Doughnut customer said.

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(credit: Voodoo Doughnut)

It happened as an assortment of sugar-loaded doughnuts spun in their display cases. When no one was watching, a very special painting disappeared from the collection of unique art at Voodoo Doughnut on East Colfax. The large artwork hung high above an “Employees Only” door, and features actress Pam Grier – an 80s icon from Denver and graduate of East High School.

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(credit: CBS)

“This is a one of a kind image in black velvet of Pam Grier,” the co-owner of Voodoo Doughnuts, based in Oregon, said in a video shared on Twitter. “A local artist created it and she worked very hard on it.”

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(credit: Voodoo Doughnut)

The black velvet painting was plucked from a bright yellow wall. Denver police released a surveillance photo Thursday showing the man they believe is the thief. Voodoo’s owners say that man stole “the spirit” of their Denver shop.

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(credit: CBS)

“It’s pretty heartbreaking if that’s their spirit of their shop,” customer Paulina Arreola told CBS4’s Kelly Werthmann. “They’ll probably never get it back.”

voodoo art stolen pkg frame 897 Voodoo Doughnuts Artwork Stolen, Owners Plead For Its Return

(credit: CBS)

Holding a replica of the missing artwork, Voodoo’s owners pleaded for the painting’s return.

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(credit: CBS)

“Please bring it back to Voodoo Doughnut. No questions asked,” they said in the video. “Please, Denver. You’re our only hope.”

voodoo doughnut Voodoo Doughnuts Artwork Stolen, Owners Plead For Its Return

(credit: Denver Police)

Anyone with information regarding this crime or recognizes the suspect in the picture is asked to contact Crime Stoppers at 720-913-STOP (7867). You can text to CRIMES (274637) then title DMCS and enter your message or send an e-mail to metro-denvercrimestoppers.com.

Kelly Werthmann joined the CBS4 team as the morning reporter in 2012. After serving as weekend morning anchor, Kelly is now Covering Colorado First for CBS4 News at 10. Connect with Kelly on Facebook or follow her on Twitter @KellyCBS4.

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