MADISON, Wis. -

It's not every day you hear about an art theft in Madison, but police said an expensive piece of artwork was stolen from University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Union South last Wednesday, valued at $700.

After days of going through surveillance video, police said they're closing in on the thief.

"The suspect got up, literally took the artwork off the wall, stuffed it in a purse and walked away," UW Madison police spokesperson Marc Lovicott said.

The police released the image of a woman who is accused of stealing a 9 by 12 inch painting last Wednesday around noon from the Union South Gallery 1308.

"We don't like dealing with this because it's an invasion of someone's privacy to a certain extent, and now they are in our unions and they are taking valuables and pieces of art that everyone enjoys," Lovicott said.

Police won't name the artist or tell us what the painting looks like, but they said an out-of-state artist had it on sale.

"For many people it seems like common sense. Well why wouldn't you release what the painting looks like? But it's complicated stuff, and it is part of our police investigation," Lovicott said.

Right now the gallery in Union South is between shows and a new one starts next Friday. Both unions on campus have galleries with 30 to 40 shows a year.

"We are the first union in the country to have an art gallery as part of the union, so history goes way back. I think that most people around here respect that both unions are welcoming and the artwork is there for everyone's enjoyment," Marc Kennedy, communications director for the Wisconsin Union, said.

Union officials hope good technology will lead to a happy ending.

"All the galleries are under surveillance just for rare occurrences like this, and hopefully we will recover the artwork," Kennedy said.

UW police released the suspect's picture this morning, which has already generated several tips through social media.

Officials ask anyone with information about the crime or suspect to call UW police at 264-2677.