Works of art valued at $10 million and stolen from an Endocino home in 2008 have been recovered.
9 works of art that were stolen 6 years ago in one of the largest art heists in L.A. history have been recovered by investigators from the L.A. police dept. and the FBI. according to court documents obtained by the L.A. Times.
After an undercover operation at a West L.A. hotel in Oct., federal authorities detained Raul Espinoza, 45, who tried to sell the paintings valued at $10 million for $700,000 cash.
The 9 works recovered were among the dozens stolen from the Endocino home on the morning of Aug. 24, 2008.
A thief or thieves entered through the unlocked kitchen door of a wealthy real estate investor’s home and made off with works including Marc Chagall’s “Les Paysans” and Diego Rivera’s “Mexican Peasant”.
The elderly collectors were in their bedroom and heard nothing, according to the police report. At the time of the heist, the housekeeper was out buying groceries. After returning home the housekeeper noticed the hallway and living room walls were barren.
The case went cold until Sept. 2, 2014 when Det. Donald Hrycyk of the LAPD’s art theft detail was tipped off to a man in Europe known as “Darko” who was soliciting buyers for the stolen art.
Darko said he was merely the middle man for an unknown person in possession of the art in California.
The FBI. and the LAPD. set up an undercover operation and arrested Raul Espinoza. Espinoza was charged with receiving stolen property and has pleaded not guilty. He’s being held on $5 million bail.
3 paintings are still missing and Hrycyk is searching Espinoza’s phone to find the identity of the persons involved.