LA Police Work to Track Down Owners of Stolen Art

Friday, September 6, 2019
LA Police Work to Track Down Owners of Stolen Art

The Los Angeles police department has launched a program to track down stolen art. Operation Demetra, named after a similar European task force, was launched in June after an auction house contacted police to say they had received a few paintings they suspected were stolen.

Image: Framed and signed lithorgaph of Pablo Picasso's Bouquet of Peace, 1958. Photo files are front and back of framed lithograph.

 

The Los Angeles police department has launched a program to track down stolen art.

 

Framed and signed lithorgaph of Pablo Picasso's Bouquet of Peace, 1958. Photo files are front and back of framed lithograph.

 

Operation Demetra, named after a similar European task force, was launched in June after an auction house contacted police to say they had received a few paintings they suspected were stolen.

The LAPD was able to link the paintings back to art pieces that went missing years ago and eventually recovered more than 100 items from several warehouses in Los Angeles and one in Orange County.

 

Framed and signed lithograph of Pablo Picasso's Flowers for UCLA art piece. Photo files are front and back of framed lithograph.

 

“Art theft is really rare. It’s a specific item,” Los Angeles Detective Mel Vergara told ABC News.

Some of the pieces that were recovered in June include signed lithographs of pictures by Pablo Picasso, antiques such as furniture and firearms, and collectibles signed by the likes of Grace Kelly and U.S. Presidents.

“Some of these paintings don’t have the artists’ names because a lot of them were damaged and stuff,” said Detective Vergara. “They weren’t properly stored.”

 

Landscape painting of sailboats on the water.

 

Vergara said he has reached out to local art experts from the Getty Museum, the Broad and even the Autry Museum to uncover the details of each found art piece.

 

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