08/31/2012 10:14 EDT | Updated 10/31/2012 05:12 EDT

Group of Seven paintings stolen from Toronto gallery

Two Group of Seven paintings and a painting from a renowned Montreal artist have been stolen during a break-in at a gallery in Toronto's tony Yorkville neighbourhood.

The paintings that are missing from Gallery Gevik on Hazelton Avenue are:

- Group of Birches by Frank Johnston.

- Beach Litter by Arthur Lismer.

- Harbour Scene #2 by the late Montreal artist Sylvia Lefkovitz.

Police said the thief or thieves broke the front bay window and entered the gallery. The three paintings are valued at about $50,000.

The break-in happened Sunday, but details were only released on Friday morning.

Gallery director Phillip Gevik said that Toronto police are taking the case seriously, though he said the city does not have officers that specialize in art thefts.

"The cops are working hard, they are looking around to find them," he said in an interview with CBC News.

Asked if he thought some unscrupulous buyers may order the theft of desirable paintings, Gevik said that was likely.

Gevik said the person who hopes to end up with a painting through illicit means, won’t be the same person who breaks in to take it.

"They hire somebody who does the work for them," he said.