The curator of the Museum of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia says the theft on Saturday of a dozen pieces of art by Haida artist Bill Reid was not random.
Bill McLennan says the thieves knew what they wanted and they brought in the equipment needed to break into the high security cases that held the works of art.
He says his worst fear is that whoever took the pieces could melt them down for the gold.
Police refuse to say how the thieves got into the building, or if there is any video surveillance, but they say descriptions of the stolen items are being circulated to police agencies around the world through Interpol.
In addition to the Bill Reid pieces -- which are being called "priceless'' -- several Mexican gold necklaces were also stolen.
On Monday, Canadian Press reported that UBC and the Museum are jointly offering a $50,000 reward for the return of the works, which have a total value of about $2 million.
Reid's widow, Martine, is said to be distressed by the theft and hopes a reward is offered to get the works of art back.
Reid is considered to be one of Canada's most important artists of the 20th century.
He was trained as a goldsmith and worked in sculpture, carvings, jewelry and painting. His work reflected traditional Northwest Coast native art.
Reid died in 1998.