There's been a new twist in the strange story of a controversial Jackson Pollock painting -- it's been put in a secret hiding place because of fears it will be stolen.

Toronto police got a tip that a theft attempt might take place, and in fact, one did.

Thieves tried to enter Gallery Delisle at 2239 Queen St. E.  in the Beaches neighbourhood at about 3 a.m. Saturday.

Police were there in about two minutes, but the thieves have already fled.

"You can't write this. This is just an unbelievable story. It just gets better and better," gallery owner Michelle Delisle told CTV Toronto on Saturday. "They have it until Monday morning, so the Pollock is in jail until Monday morning."

Now, those wanting to purchase the painting will have to make an appointment and be taken to a secret location.

The original painting had been on display since Nov. 13 at the gallery, where it carried a price tag of $50 million. An off-duty officer was present during the day and a security company at night. There were other security measures, such as cameras and infrared beams.

A replica now hangs in the original's place.

Who the (bleep) is Jackson Pollock?

Teri Horton bought the 1.7-by-1.2-metre painting for $5 in 1993 as a gift for a friend who lived in a small mobile home.

They had a laugh about what they called the "scary" painting, then leaned it up against the wall as they had a few beers.

"We were going to go get the darts out of the trailer and throw them at it, but we got to drinking too much beer and never got around to it," Horton, a former truck driver from San Bernardino, Calif., told Canada AM last month.

"So then I put it in my storage shed. I had no idea what it was. The canvas was all these colours, it was ugly as far as I was concerned."

When Horton had a garage sale, an art professor saw the drip-style painting and told her it could be the work of Jackson Pollock.

"I said, 'Who the (bleep) is Jackson Pollock?'," Horton said.

That immortal expression became the name of a documentary film about the painting. Pollock, a modernists, is considered one of the most important American artists of the 20th century.

Not everyone in the U.S. art world believes the work is a genuine Pollock, which is one reason Horton has it for sale in Canada.

With a report from CTV Toronto's Austin Delaney