Showing posts with label Jeffrey Gundlach. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Jeffrey Gundlach. Show all posts

January 31, 2013

Gundlach Art Theft: Case against suspected art thieves slowly working its way through the court appearances

Last September thieves broke into the Santa Monica home of financier Jeffrey Gundlach and stole, amongst his possessions, some very valuable paintings.  Two weeks later, on the other side of Los Angeles County, with the cooperation of various law enforcement agencies, the paintings were recovered and the arrests began.  By early January, six people had been charged in the theft and appeared in court to plead "not guilty" (this is called an arraignment).  A preliminary hearing is scheduled for February 6 at 9 a.m. in Department 142 at the Airport Branch of the Los Angeles Superior Court.  This appearance in court is a just a proceeding to determine if there is sufficient evidence to require a trial.

This theft and recovery of these multimillion dollar paintings seem less glamorous than art thieves  portrayed in the media.  You can read all about art thieves and the media in a piece by Katie Ogden (ARCA 2009) on the ARCA blog here.

January 9, 2013

Gundlach art theft: Six people charged with first-degree residential burglary, conspiracy and receiving stolen property three months after artworks recovered

One man has been accused of breaking into the private residence of financier Jeffrey Gundlach in Santa Monica, California, last September to steal 13 artworks by artists such as Piet Mondrian, Jasper Johns, and Joseph Cornell.  Hours later, the thief allegedly returned to take Gundlach's Porsche at the request of the manager of a Pasadena car & stereo shop where the paintings had been stashed.  It's about a 70-mile roundtrip between the site of the theft and the hiding place for the artwork.  Prosecutors also charge that the thief's mother and two brothers helped to conceal and sell the stolen paintings.  A sixth person is accused of receiving the stolen items.

This is the press release issued by the Los Angeles District Attorney's Office issued on January 4, 2013:
LOS ANGELES – Six people are awaiting arraignment this afternoon in connection with the $3.2 million theft of paintings, wine, jewelry and a car from financier Jeffrey Gundlach in September, the District Attorney’s Office announced. 
Darren Agee Merager, 43, allegedly broke into Gundlach’s Santa Monica home between Sept. 12 and Sept. 13, 2012, and stole valuable art work, jewelry and wine, said Deputy District Attorney Alva Lin with the Airport Branch office. Merager then allegedly returned hours later and stole Gundlach’s Porsche at the behest of Jay Jeffrey Nieto, 45. 
Nieto allegedly helped conceal the stolen art and other items at his Pasadena store. Pasadena police, who received a tip, and the Santa Monica Police Department investigated the case. 
Charged as co-conspirators are Merager’s 68-year-old mother, Brenda Joyce Merager, and two brothers, 29-year-old Wanis George Wahba and his 26-year-old brother, Ely George Wahba. The three allegedly tried to sell and conceal the stolen items. In addition, Wilmer Bolosan Cadiz, 40, is charged with conspiracy and receiving stolen items. 
The six, who are charged in case SA082879 with multiple counts, including first-degree residential burglary, conspiracy and receiving stolen property, are scheduled to be arraigned at the Los Angeles Superior Court, Airport Branch, in Department 144. 
Prosecutors will ask that bail be set at $10 million for each defendant. 
Merager, who has multiple prior convictions, is facing more than nine years in state prison if convicted.
Here's a few links to earlier coverage on this blog regarding the theft and the recovery of Gundlach's stolen art.

Here in the Beverly Hills Weekly last February is a notice that Merager was arrested on January 25, 2012 for receiving "known stolen property"; and here is a notice in the Laguna Beach Independent that Merager was arrested on May 17 for a Beverly Hills warrant for stolen property and that bail had been set at $500,000.  Merager, who's residence was identified as Lake Havasu (Arizona), travels extended from Los Angeles to Orange County.

September 28, 2012

Santa Monica Police Department Works with Pasadena Police Department and other agencies to recover art stolen from Jeffrey Gundlach's collection

Art work by Franz Kline stolen and recovered
by Catherine Schofield Sezgin, 
 ARCA Blog Editor-in-Chief

This evening Richard Lewis, Sergeant, with the Office of the Chief of Police for the Santa Monica Police Department sent a copy of the press release regarding the arrests and recovery of the art to the ARCA blog.

SMPD's Sergeant Lewis also responded to two questions via email: did the publication of the photos of the artwork assist in the recovery of the art? Did the owner's offer of a reward assist in the recovery of the art?
The photos were absolutely a help to the investigation.  As for the reward that was offered by the victim, that may have played a role, but at this stage in the investigation, I cannot speak to that.
Here's the press release that shows the art traveled from the Westside of Los Angeles to San Gabriel Valley:
On September 26, 2012, investigators from the Santa Monica Police Department were contacted by members of the Pasadena Police Department who received a tip concerning where the stolen art from Santa Monica was being held. Based on the information received, Santa Monica’s investigators, with the assistance of the Pasadena Police Department, responded to Al & Ed’s Autosound located at 30 S. Rosemead Boulevard in Pasadena to serve a search warrant. 
During the subsequent search, most of the paintings were recovered and one suspect was arrested for possessing stolen property. He was identified as 45 year old Jay Jeffrey Nieto of Canyon Country, the manager of the Pasadena Al & Ed’s. 
As the investigation continued, additional information was developed that led Santa Monica investigators to a residence in the City of San Gabriel. There the investigators contacted and later arrested 40 year old Wilmer Bolosan Cadiz for possessing stolen property; he was in possession of four of the stolen paintings. 
The last painting was recovered as investigators learned it had been transported to a residence in Glendale. The subject in possession of this painting has been interviewed and is cooperating with investigators. 
Santa Monica Police Investigators are continuing to follow up on leads regarding other possible suspects in the burglary and the location of the remaining stolen property. Anyone with information is asked to contact Detective David Haro at (310) 458-8432 or Sergeant Henry Ramirez at (310) 458-8453 or the Santa Monica Police Department (24 hours) at (310) 458-8495. 
Although the investigation continues, cooperation from the following agencies has made the recovery of this valuable art collection possible. 
Pasadena Police Department 
Los Angeles Police Department
Federal Bureau of Investigation
Department of Justice
Interpol
If you wish to remain anonymous, you can call We-Tip at 1-800-78-CRIME (1-800-78-27643), or submit the tip online at www.wetip.com you will remain completely anonymous and may be eligible for a reward, up to $1,000.00 if your information leads to an arrest and conviction, or anonymous tipsters can contact Crime Stoppers by either calling (800) 222-TIPS (8477) or by visiting their website at www.lacrimestoppers.org. To text an anonymous tip to crime stoppers; please view their webpage for detailed instructions. If the information leads to an arrest, the tipster is eligible to receive a reward up to $1,000.00.

LA Times: 'Jeffrey Gundlach's stolen art collection is recovered'

The Los Angeles Times sent out a 'breaking news' email at 5:59 p.m. on September 27:
Recovered art work by Philip Guston (1950)
Star bond trader Jeffrey Gundlach said his $10-million collection of art, which was stolen this month, has been recovered safely. 
Two suspects have been arrested by Santa Monica police, he said.  Gundlach had offered a near-record $1.7-million reward for the collection's safe return. 
Joe Bel Bruno for the LA Times reports that Gunlach said that 'at least one of the paintings [the Mondrian] was in the midst of being sold" and that his Porsche is still missing. 

Sam Ro for Business Insider reports that Gundlach released a statement thanking Detective David Haro and the Santa Monica Police Department for "their skillful, tireless and respectful attention to apprehending the criminals and recovering all of the artwork stolen."