Case of LA's stolen Rembrandt intrigues art world

On the surface it looked like an open-and-shut case: A pair of thieves drop by an art exhibition at the Ritz-Carlton and, while one distracts a curator, the other snatches a valuable, centuries-old Rembrandt drawing and bolts with it.

Apparently finding the small pen-and-ink work by the Dutch master too hot to fence, the thieves have second thoughts. They abandon it, undamaged, at a church on the other side of town.

Then the real mystery begins.

Three weeks after recovering the framed, 11-by-6 inch drawing called "The Judgment," authorities aren't sure whether it really is a Rembrandt or if it even belongs to the art dealer that displayed it with other works at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Marina del Rey.

"They have to show us something to prove that they own it, and they haven't been able to do that," said Steve Whitmore, a spokesman for the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department. He said authorities are keeping the alleged Rembrandt under lock and key until the ownership issue is resolved.

Read the rest here.

Tags: Rembrant, art, crime, drawing, heist

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