Authorities Wednesday urged people to contact police if their valuables — including expensive artwork, antique pistols and other items — were burglarized from their Los Angeles-area homes in the early 1990s, after detectives recovered the items in a warehouse.
The investigation, dubbed “Operation Demetra,” began in June after an art dealer in Los Angeles contacted the Los Angeles Police Department to report that someone had provided the business with possible stolen items, including two Picasso paintings, the LAPD reported.
Two detectives who had originally investigated the burglaries in the 1990s began a new investigation that led to the service of search warrants in Los Angeles and Orange counties and the recovery of the items.
“We recovered over 100 items, some that we have verified are stolen, and most which were believed to have been stolen during that time,” said LAPD Capt. Lillian Carranza of the Commercial Crimes Division. “We would like the media’s help and the public’s assistance (in) helping us identify the rightful owners so we can return these items to them.”
KCAL9 reported that two suspects were arrested earlier in connection with the crime spree, prior to the break in the case that led to the recovery of the stolen items. No new arrests have been made.
Investigators told Channel 9 that the person who was in possession of the stolen items had inherited them from someone who had died and who had been convicted and served several years in prison for the burglaries.
Investigators were working with experts from the unidentified art business and the Getty Museum to identify the pieces, the artists who created them, and their current worth.
The items can be viewed at www.foundbylapd.smugmug.com under “Operation Demetra.”
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