A Peek at Some of the Stolen Art the LAPD Is Trying to Track Down

When art goes missing, this L.A. cop is on the case
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Los Angeles has more museums than any other city in America. We also have more people working in the arts than anywhere else. Take that number and divide it by the crime rate and you get the LAPD Art Theft Detail.

The unit is the first and only force in the country dedicated to retrieving stolen artwork from collectors, galleries, and auction houses, and returning it to the rightful owner. “It’s not like you can just put a Monet into a database for stolen property,” says Detective Don Hrycyk, who headed the unit for more than 20 years. “There are so many lookalikes. It has to be unique enough so you can positively identify it.”

Being the art cop (that’s his email address, BTW) in a city like ours means that celebrity portraits, movie props, and even an Oscar statuette turn up on the lost list alongside Picasso etchings. Hunting down stolen art requires becoming an expert in coins, baseball cards, musical instruments, and anything else that can be pilfered. “A particular comic book was owned by the actor Nicolas Cage,” Hrycyk remembers. “A dealer gave us a heads up that it had surfaced and we did a sting operation to recover it.” Cage’s copy of Action Comics #1 (the issue, from 1938, features the debut of Superman) later sold for $2.1 million.

The Art Theft Detail turned up in the news again last week when antique furniture designed by architects Frank Lloyd Wright and Rudolph Schindler was revealed to have been stolen from USC. “We want to let people know that things aren’t gone forever,” says Hrycyk. “It may no longer be in the thief’s hands, but with somebody who wants to get top dollar for it.”

The Wright-Schindler case may be one of the detective’s last. The detail was officially disbanded in October, (Hrycyk blames “changing priorities”) and the veteran officer was reassigned to a burglary unit. “I take what comes through the door, but if there’s an art case, I’m encouraged to handle it.” We hope the USC thieves fess up before it’s too late. “I’m getting to the end of my career,” the detective says. “And there’s nobody in training.”

The Art Theft Detail has been successful in recouping plenty of artwork, but the pieces below are still on the loose.

If you have information on this case,
please contact:
LAPD Art Theft Detail
213 486-6940
WARHOL, Andy
1970
Flowers
serigraph
#13/250
36″ x 36″
colors: rose, yellow & orchid
signed on back
LAPD DR# 04-0627993 (Case 9-B1-05)
Oscar statuettes (2)
made for Academy Awards
blank – no names
serial numbers 3030 & 3033
13 ½” tall, 8 ½ lbs
LAPD DR# 00-9908993
-0621154 (Case 7-1/98)
PICASSO, Pablo
1965
Dans l’Atelier
etching
#36/50
15 ¼” x 20 ½”
LAPD DR# 92-0751122 (Case 1-2/93)
Murakami, Takashi
Mr. Cloud
KEANE, Margaret
mid-1960’s
Dragon on Parade
oil on canvas
20″ x 27″
signed “Keane” lower left
LAPD DR# 09-0816853 (Case 0909:08T05-020)
MIRO, Joan
1969
La Femme Angora
etching with aquatint & carborundum printed in colors
39″ x 23 ½”
signed in pencil with a dedication “pour Hector”
LAPD DR# 11-0807328 (Case 3-3/11)
TIFFANY Lamp
1906
Acorn
metal cast base, copper and stained glass shade
24″ height, 16″ diameter
signed, “Tiffany Studios, New York” inside the lamp shade in the impressed signature style
LAPD DR# 01-0810510
SKELTON, Red
Big Red
lithograph on canvas
#175/2500
18″ x 14″
signed on lower left
LAPD DR# 97-0524660 (Case 10-4/97)
Nazi swastika armband
circa 1945
cloth
4″ x 16″
Nazi armband signed by the men of the 93rd Cavalry Troop D,
2nd Platoon at the conclusion of WWII. 10 signatures.
LAPD DR# 05-0814643 (Case 7-8T3-017)
REMBRANDT
1635
untitled
etching
10″x 8″
LAPD DR# 03-0808680 (Case 3-3/03)
WARHOL, Andy
Mao #92
screenprint
36″ x 36″
signed & numbered (#53/250) on the reverse
LAPD DR# 98
OLDENBURG, Claes
1962
part of exhibit: Shirt with Objects on a Chair
sculpture
painted stuffed fabric
11 ¼” x 3 ⅝” x 1 ½”
depicting an open man’s wallet
black & brown with off-white picture section on inside
LAPD DR# 01-0113592 (Case 4-6/01)
movie prop from Predator II
alien spear
7′ long, possibly retractable
made of copper and plastic
gold and bronze tint
LAPD DR# 96-0920354 (Case 5-2/96)
MAX, Peter
20th Century (American)
Zero in Love
serigraph
#20/300
29 ½” x 37″
DALI, Salvador
1951
The Fallen Angel
watercolor on canvas
16″ x 11″
illustration for Dante’s “Divine Comedy”
signed “Dali” lower middle in red inscription on back:
“Dear Seymour, this piece reminds me of you…a man looking inside of himself”
LAPD DR# 01-0612521 (Case 4-1/01)
Chinese vase
19th Century
porcelain
approx 20-22″ tall, 14″ in diameter
brown with red and green figures on side
original top missing and replaced with wooden top
decorative Ming Dynasty markings on bottom
LAPD DR# 02-0822547
HOCKNEY, David
1991
Twelve Fifteen
lithograph
#42/50
44″ x 57″
signed in pencil lower right
LAPD DR# 96-0820808 (Case 8-2/96)
HIRSCHFELD, Al
2003
The End
lithograph
#207/300
40″ x 22″
on Arches paper
LAPD DR# 04-0704952 (Case 1-2/04)
CORITA, Sister Mary
prior to 1964
untitled
serigraph
signed – initials lower left
LAPD DR# 00-0128051 (Case 10-2/00)
HARING, Keith
1985
untitled
original ink on paper
14″ x 11″
signed & dated
depicting 4-tier wedding cake with two dancing figures
LAPD DR# 00-0607195 (Case 2-1/00)
AppleMark

NARA, Yoshitomo 2000 Hinagiki acrylic, pencil & colored pencil on canvas & wood 25.5 cm x 15 cm title, date & signed on back title "Wild Chrysanthemum" in Japanese at lower front LAPD DR# 09-0616987 (Case - CCD Safe Detail)

DALI, Salvador
1983
Hysterical Venus
glass
#61/300
14″ x 7″ x 5″
signed “Dali”
LAPD DR# 07-1706280 (Case 2-2/07)
CALDER, Alexander
1956
Little Roxbury
painted metal
18 ¾” x 17″ x 11″
painted in red, yellow, blue & black
LAPD DR# 05-0808781 (Case 5-2/05)

Charvel EVH Art Series Guitar
2005
basswood body
#389
1-5/8″ nut width
22 jumbo frets
25-1/2″ scale
custom wound EVH humbucker
Floyd Rose original vibrato
chrome hardware
bolt-on quartersawn Eastern hard rock maple neck with oil finish and integrated fretboard and the body is white with a black design. Eddie Van Halen designed this guitar.
BASQUIAT, Jean-Michel (attributed to)
1986
Jukebox
acrylic/oilstick on unprimed unstretched canvas
26 ½” x 41″
signed, titled, & dated on back
LAPD DR# 06-1104609 (Case 1-2/06)
BERNARD, Bruno
1946
Marilyn Monroe #6
black & white gelatin silver photograph
13″ x 10″
Norma Jean Dougherty
LAPD DR# 01-0733495 (Case 10-1/01)
PEANUTS animation cels
Losing Altitude
acrylic paint on clear transparency – no background
(15) cels – #306-320
out of total production of 500
10 1/2″ x 12 1/2″
signed “Bill Melendez” & numbered lower right
LAPD DR# 99-0710652 (Case 3-4/99)

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