Reverse Heist?? Eyeball Painting Returned to Downtown Display

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DALLAS -- A group of Dallas art thieves apparently turned "good Samaritan" -- in the blink of an eye.

Last week, we told you about a daring downtown art heist.  A 4' x 5' painting of an "eye-conic" Dallas sculpture, pulled off a lobby wall, and carried off into the night.

A few witnesses and surveillance footage aside, it was a picture perfect crime.  But it seems the crooks had a change of heart -- much to the relief of artist Jay Cantrell.

"I'm very glad to have it back," said Cantrell.  "Stuff like this only happens in movies!"

The painting didn't just reappear, of course.  It was returned via reverse heist!

"Saturday morning, the restaurant got a call from an anonymous caller," Cantrell told NewsFix. "He has the painting and wants to return it because he's terrified of being arrested."

Maybe it was because our news coverage had the eyes of Texas peeled for the painting.

"By 2 o'clock in the afternoon, they left it in the restaurant next door and called again and said, "It's downstairs, you need to come get it,'" the artist recounted. "They were just as elusive returning it as when they stole it."

It's still a mystery exactly who stole the painting.

Our question is: What's an appropriate punishment for stealing $4,500 worth of artwork, anyway?  An eye for an eye?  How about... Fifty lashes?

"We'll see," Cantrell said (we see what you did there, Jay). "At this point, I just want the painting to be sold and in a safe place."

Yeah, for the time being, the painting is back where it belongs, right across from the watchful eye that inspired it.