Thieves in U.S. snatch $250,000 painting

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Thieves in U.S. snatch $250,000 painting

LOS ANGELES - A 17th-century drawing by Rembrandt was snatched from a private art display at a luxury California hotel while a curator was momentarily distracted, officials said Monday.

The theft of the $250,000 sketch from the lobby of the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in the upmarket seaside community of Marina del Rey happened on Saturday night while someone who seemed interested in buying another piece held the curator’s attention for a few minutes.

“When the curator turned back to the Rembrandt, it was gone,’’ Los Angeles County sheriff’s spokesman Steve Whitmore said. It was not clear whether the person talking to the curator was connected to the theft, though Whitmore said a team of at least two people was involved.

The sketch, called “The Judgment,’’ was completed around 1655 and is signed on the back by the Dutch master.

“Rembrandt is a name that criminals know or should know,’’ said Chris Marinello, executive director of the London-based Art Loss Register, an international database of stolen artworks. He said the theft was likely a crime of opportunity and not an operation carried at the command of a mysterious criminal with a private art collection, as is often depicted in movies.

Artworks tend to surface either very quickly after they are stolen or else disappear into the underworld where they are traded between criminals at a fraction of their value for drugs, Marinello said.

The sketch was being displayed on an easel or wooden stand and was apparently not fastened down, Whitmore said. He described the theft as well executed, “but not executed well enough to get away with,’’ adding that investigators had several strong leads and were reviewing security cameras.

The drawing was part of an exhibit at the hotel sponsored by the Linearis Institute based in the San Francisco Bay Area community of Hercules. Messages left Monday were not returned.

The stolen sketch was drawn with a quill pen and depicts what appears to be a court scene with a man prostrating himself before a judge.


한글 관련 기사 [뉴시스]

도난됐던 렘브란트 작품 `심판` 방치된 채 발견…25만 달러

난 13일 로스앤젤레스 인근 마리나 델 레이의 리츠칼튼 호텔에 전시돼 있다 도난됐던 17세기 네덜란드의 거장 렘브란트의 작품이 15일 호텔에서 약 20㎞ 떨어진 산 페르난도 밸리 교회 부지 내에 방치된 상태로 발견됐다.

현지 경찰은 렘브란트 작품의 도난 사건에 언론에 대대적으로 보도되자 작품을 팔아치우는 것이 어렵다고 판단한 범인들이 작품을 버린 것으로 보고 있다.

`심판`이란 제목의 펜 스케치화인 이 작품은 손상을 입지 않은 것으로 보이며 전문가들이 작품의 진위 여부를 가려내기 위해 감정을 벌이고 있다.

`심판`의 가격은 약 25만 달러(약 2억6835만원) 정도로 추정된다.
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