Stolen Artwork Valued at $800,000 Turned Over to Police

Stolen artwork valued at about $800,000 was turned over to authorities by a San Fernando resident who said the lithographs were found in a late relative’s storage facility, Los Angeles police reported.

The lithographs from the 1970s and 1980s — signed by deceased Scottish painter Benjamin Créme — were turned over to detectives on Sept. 25, according to the Los Angeles Police Department.

Besides painting Creme — who died in London, England in 2016 at the age of 93 —  was an author, lecturer and esotericist. He began painting at age 13 in his home city, Glasgow. His early works were described as stylized figurative painting, and were often abstract landscapes. After 1964, Creme’s artwork was viewed as being totally esoteric and symbolic abstract in its meaning.

“Detectives received a phone call from (police officers) in Mission Division about a person who discovered stolen artwork and wanted to turn the artwork over to authorities,'' according to an LAPD statement. “Commercial Crimes (Division) detectives responded to the person's residence in the City of San Fernando where it had been stored for the past few years.”

The FBI had listed the lithographs among other stolen artworks on its Twitter site.

The individual, whose name was withheld, told detectives that the artwork was previously in possession of a relative who had died a few years ago.

“The reporting person took the deceased relative’s items out of storage and brought them to their residence,” police said. “Upon looking through the items from the deceased relative, the reporting person discovered the artwork was stolen after visiting a law enforcement website and immediately notified authorities.”

The artwork had been reported stolen from a storage facility in western Los Angeles in 2012, according to LAPD Detective Steven Franssen, who said about 1,300 of approximately 2,300 unframed prints had been recovered.

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