PUBLIC SAFETY FACILITY — Santa Monica detectives have recovered millions of dollars worth of modern art that was stolen from a home on 12th Street earlier this month and have two men in custody, police said Thursday.
The artwork from the likes of Cy Twombly, Piet Mondrian and Franz Kline belongs to Jeffrey Gundlach, the top dog at investment management firm Doubleline Capital LP. Gundlach had offered a reward of nearly $2 million for the safe return of the art.
Several expensive watches, a gun, 40 bottles of wine worth roughly $100,000 and a Porsche Carrera 4S were also stolen. Those items have not yet been recovered, said Sgt. Richard Lewis, spokesman for the Santa Monica Police Department.
“My gratitude goes out to Detective David Haro and the entire Santa Monica Police Department for their skillful, tireless and respectful attention to apprehending the criminals and recovering all of the artwork stolen,” Gundlach said in a statement released to the media. “This is a great day for the art world and all those who seek order and justice in our society. I would also like to thank the many well wishers who offered support and whose optimism over the last two weeks proved accurate.”
The art pieces from some of the biggest names in the modern art world were lifted off the victim’s walls between 3 p.m. Sept. 12 and 8 p.m. Sept. 14, while the victim was away.
Police would not say how the thieves gained access to the home. Lewis said the suspects had no relation to Gundlach.
On Wednesday, detectives were contacted by members of the Pasadena Police Department, who received a tip concerning where the stolen art was being held, Lewis said. Based on that information, detectives, with the help of Pasadena police, responded to Al & Ed’s Autosound in Pasadena to serve a search warrant. During their search, officers recovered most of the paintings and arrested 45-year-old Jay Jeffrey Nieto of Canyon Country. Nieto, who was working as the manager of the store at the time of his arrest, was booked for possession of stolen property.
As the investigation continued, additional information was developed that led officers to a home in the city of San Gabriel. There the officers made contact with and ultimately arrested 40-year-old Wilmer Bolosan Cadiz for possession of stolen property. He was allegedly in possession of four of the stolen paintings.
The final painting was recovered as investigators learned that it had been transported to a home in Glendale. The person in possession of the painting, who police would not identify, was interviewed and is said to be cooperating with investigators. Lewis would not say if the person purchased the painting from the suspects.
SMPD detectives continue to follow up on leads regarding other possible suspects and the location of the remaining stolen items. Anyone with information is asked to call detectives at (310) 458-8453.
Anyone wishing to remain anonymous can call We-Tip at (800) 78-CRIME or submit the tip online at http://www.wetip.com. Those who provide tips are eligible for a reward up to $1,000, police said. Tipsters can also contact Crime Stoppers at (800) 222-TIPS or by visiting their website at http://www.lacrimestoppers.org. Texting tips can also be done by visiting the website.
Lewis said the arrests were possible thanks to help from the Pasadena and Los Angeles police departments, the FBI, the Department of Justice and Interpol.