Paintings stolen from bond fund manager's California home found

Reuters News
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Posted: Sep 27, 2012 10:29 PM
Paintings stolen from bond fund manager's California home found

By Alex Dobuzinskis

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Police recovered a multimillion-dollar collection of paintings stolen from the Southern California home of superstar bond fund manager Jeffrey Gundlach, and two men are in jail on suspicion of possessing the stolen property, authorities said on Thursday.

The 13 paintings, which included works by Jasper Johns and Piet Mondrian, were taken from Gundlach's home in the coastal city of Santa Monica between September 12 and September 14, officials with the city's police department said.

Gundlach, who was in New York at the time, put forward a $1.7 million reward earlier this week for the recovery of all his stolen art, increasing his previous offer of $200,000.

Officers arrested Jeffrey Nieto, 45, at Al & Ed's Autosound in the Los Angeles suburb of Pasadena on Wednesday in connection with the theft, and recovered most of the paintings at that business, where Nieto is the manager, police said.

They took the second man, Wilmer Cadiz, 40, into custody at his home in nearby San Gabriel and found another four paintings there, police said. The last painting was recovered at a home in the Los Angeles bedroom community of Glendale. The person who had that painting has been interviewed and is cooperating with investigators, police said.

Police are still investigating the case, including whether Nieto and Cadiz committed the actual burglary at Gundlach's home, Santa Monica police spokesman Sergeant Richard Lewis said.

It was not immediately clear if Nieto or Cadiz have attorneys to represent them.

Gundlach, who is chief executive officer and chief investment officer of DoubleLine Capital, in a statement thanked the Santa Monica Police Department for "apprehending the criminals" and recovering "all of the artwork stolen."

"This is a great day for the art world and all those who seek order and justice in our society," Gundlach said. A representative for Gundlach did not immediately respond to an email about payment of the reward in the case.

The stolen art pieces included works by Frank Stella, Guy Rose, Hanson Duvall Puthuff and other artists.

The painting by Jasper Johns, who last year received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, is his 1956 "Green Target." The piece by the late Dutch artist Piet Mondrian is his 1936 "Composition (A) En Rouge Et Blanc."

The Mondrian piece alone is worth between $10 million and $15 million, Lewis said. The total value of the stolen paintings could be up to $39 million, but police initially valued all the items stolen from Gundlach's home at $10 million to be conservative about the price tag, Lewis said.

Police have not recovered a Porsche Carrera 4S sports car taken from Gundlach's home, nor have they found several luxury watches, a handgun and some wine that was also stolen, Lewis said. The car originally sold for $120,000 and the wine was worth $100,000, he said.

Nieto was being held in jail on bail of $500,000 and Cadiz was being held on $20,000, according to Los Angeles County inmate records.

(Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Eric Walsh)