Boulder Police Recover Five Paintings Stolen In Art Heist

Boulder Police Recover Five Paintings Stolen In Art Heist

Suspect Brandon Camacho-Levin was arrested on December 14 by Boulder police on suspicion of stealing $400,000 worth of art. Five works of art (three for one client, two for another) stolen from a truck outside a Lakewood, Colorado hotel on Saturday, January 6 , were seized along with 2,000 fentanyl tablets and 23 grams of methamphetamine.

Camacho-Levin, 31, faces multiple charges, including possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, four counts of selling and manufacturing drugs, one count of tampering with a car in the first degree, and two counts of flight control (less than 300 people) . . 100 units). $999), two counts of theft ($100,000 to $1,000,000), possession of burglary tools, one count of trespassing, three counts of failing to appear, and a charge of distributing drugs with a firearm as a "special narcotics offender".

Formerly incarcerated at the Denver County Correctional Center, Camacho-Levin has a criminal career that began at least in 2009 when an 18-year-old was arrested for marijuana possession and disorderly conduct. The then teenager refused to lie down on the ground when he was arrested and beaten four times. On July 31, 2022 , he was arrested for car theft and taken to Rose Medical Center without a response. He then attacked an officer, escaped from a medical facility and apparently disappeared before his arrest in January.

Prior to these successes in art theft, law enforcement officers and art consultants were baffled by the unusual nature of the intersection of art and crime.

First Art Series – View of Taos Pueblo by Joseph Henry Sharpe (9.75" x 13.75"), Taos Pueblo by Anger Irving Coase (9" x 12") and Laguna Pueblo (10" x 14") by Ernest Martin Hennings designed for Santa Fe, New Mexico. The paintings were bought at an auction in New York and shipped to Los Angeles, then sold along with Elaine de Kooning's Untitled (Madrid Series #3) (8" x 9") and " Barnett 's Burn " (40" x 60") ) Jane Freilicher. . . The works of the last two artists were intended for the Denver metro town of Englewood and only stopped in Boulder for the night.

Technically, the two categories of pueblo art and women artists didn't have much in common, but three pueblo artists are part of the southwestern canon and can be found at the Denver Art Museum. Local dealers are also known to sell these artists as part of the rich art history of the early American West.

But the artists Kooning and Freilicher were especially worried. Colleen Fanning, an industrial consultant for Englewood clients, was horrified after the shocking theft. In October, he traveled to London and left Boulder specifically to see Elaine de Kooning's work in the gallery's booth at the Frieze Masters art fair before joining Pueblo Art in New York.

Freilicher's piece had a wide provenance and was a must for discerning collectors, appearing in a 1964 issue of Arts & Letters. Jane Freilicher was one of Alex Katz's models and close friends, and Katz has a permanent exhibition at the Guggenheim Museum in conversation with Freilicher, which is of interest to collectors.

Fanning was understandably reluctant to reveal the financial and cultural value of the artworks while they were gone, fearing that petty or experienced criminals would find out they were worthless and jeopardize the case.

The police quickly got used to the art market.

"We can't remember the last time we were mugged, let alone a mugging of this magnitude," said Dion Waugh, public affairs officer for the Boulder Police Department.

Waugh noted that Colorado is currently the state with the highest number of car thefts.

In addition to national law enforcement efforts, the intentions sparked heated debate when the case came to light. A security expert, who asked not to be named, noted a "typical New Jersey car theft" in November 2006, when a painting by Spanish master Francisco de Goya inspired by a holiday treasure hunt went missing on Christmas Day. per

Generally speaking, regardless of his motives, Fanning emphasized the importance of due diligence and careful consideration of the work as a whole. Having a valid license to sell and ensuring that the work is in good condition, both in terms of provenance and appearance, are essential to conduct business ethically. Any refusal by the buyer or seller is a red flag.

“The collector needs to understand what he is getting, and he needs the 'terms of sale' in writing,” says Fanning.

The idea was to ensure that any dealer or newcomer who might get their hands on the job was prepared to understand the risks and advised law enforcement to calmly return the painting to its owners without compromising its status.

“Once we became aware of the stolen art, the ultimate strategy was to distribute the images as much as possible,” Fanning said. “Images of the paintings were given to auction houses, dealers, FBI art theft investigators, Art Loss.” Register with the International Foundation for Art Research and with collectors in the US and Europe.

The effort appears to have been successful and the paintings are expected to be returned to their owners by the end of the week.

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