An attentive auctioneer recognized that some of the works they were offering for sale were stolen, and alerted the police. An investigation into the seller lead police to four storage units scattered around Los Angeles and Orange County, which full of treasures that had been missing for decades.
The Los Angeles Police Department is asking for your help in returning over 100 works of art to their rightful owners. Recovered in raids last week, the works range from valuable Picasso’s to hobbyist’s paintings, antiques and historical documents, and even a canon.
In 1993, a duo of ambitious thieves broadened their horizons and began taking paintings and antiques in addition to the usual jewelry or electronics. Eventually, the men were convicted and sent to jail for their crimes, but the goods were never recovered. An enterprising relative of one of the criminals, since deceased, was attempting to cash in the loot of years passed by selling a few of them at auction.
Now the LAPD is trying to return the works to their rightful owners. Experts at the J. Paul Getty Museum are assisting the police in identifying the objects, which range from the instantly recognizable (like several Picasso’s and a Miró) to works whose value is likely mostly sentimental. The LAPD has launched a website with all the recovered works, Operation Demetra, and are asking for any information from the public that might lead to their return.