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June 1, 2011

LAPD Art Theft Detail Update and Security Recommendations

LAPD Downtown Los Angeles/Photo by Sezgin
by Catherine Schofield Sezgin, ARCA Blog Editor-in-Chief

Recently the ARCA Blog followed up on a few stories with Detective Don Hrycyk at the Los Angeles Police Department Art Theft Detail. In April, this blog had reported on the recovery of the first Superman comic book which had been stolen from the residence of actor Nicolas Cage in 2000. We emailed Detective Hrycyk for an update on the case.

"No, there is nothing I can talk about regarding the Superman comic," Detective Hrycyk wrote back. "However, the case does illustrate the importance of having good photos and documentation of cultural property, especially mass produced items such as a comic or book. There needs to be some way to positively identify a victim's property later. This can be as simple as adding several pencil dots in obscure locations known only to the owner or documenting stray aberrations, discoloration, or damage that will make the item unique and identifiable later.”

Los Angeles' City Hall/Photo by Sezgin
The LAPD Art Theft Detail has a website which describes completed and current cases. One particular Crime Alert asked for information on information requested on the whereabouts from people who have been victimized by of Daniel Lahoda, who's business practices had been questioned. We also asked Detective Hrycyk about an update.

"The investigation regarding Daniel Lahoda is on-going," Detective Hrycyk wrote. "This case illustrates how someone who represents himself as a champion for street artists can actually be taking advantage of the same artists and collectors at the same time. It also shows how a person's criminal conduct can remain hidden for many years until someone is able to connect the dots."