LA Police Department's stolen art database

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27 Responses to “LA Police Department's stolen art database”

  1. penguinchris says:

    So, we’re unanimous regarding the Nazi armband being art?

  2. Miss Cellania says:

    Some of these make you wonder why anyone would want to steal them.

  3. Baldhead says:

    if they are worth money to someone that tends to mean they’re worth more to someone else.

  4. Anonymous says:

    The artwork’s a bit basic but I want Action Comics #1, only because it’s worth an absolute fortune.

  5. bob_calder says:

    Some of the work is utter crap, but that said, I knew I had “made it” when my first large piece was stolen from a public place. It was both maddening and thrilling.

  6. Mike The Bard says:

    Okay, I can’t believe that I’m the first geek to comment on the Action #1….

    http://robot6.comicbookresources.com/2010/03/superman-back-on-top-as-action-comics-1-sells-for-record-1-5-million/

  7. semiotix says:

    That sad clown painting being stolen makes me as sad as the sad clown in that stolen sad clown painting.

    • gravytop says:

      Man. That clown puts the “pain” in painting, don’t it? That sad clown painting wasn’t stolen, but the owner needed some way to explain to his artist friend why it wouldn’t be hanging over the divan any more. Betcha that’s true for at least a couple of these paintings, anyway. And was that friend Red Skelton?

      • princeminski says:

        Yes. Mr. Skelton’s clown paintings were highly prized among his show biz buddies. Kind of like the Jerry Lewis clown family portrait by one of the Keanes. Ah, well. I doubt that I’d turn down one of Sinatra’s abstracts. Let’s face it, even ACTION # 1, Holy Grail though it is, shows how much room Supe had for further development.

  8. daneyul says:

    The one of the two people sleeping(?) in the bottom left is definitely Odd.

  9. brianary says:

    Does it include the unauthorized downloads that the vice president claims are “no different” from stealing?

  10. Donald Petersen says:

    Blank Oscars? I forgot those even existed, but of course they do. Don’t they have a small surplus every year, in case J. Drunkard Thespian leaves his wedged in a Town Car’s seat crack after the Vanity Fair shindig, before he gets the nameplate affixed?

    Anyway, those are unlikely to resurface, you ask me. Nobody can legitimately buy them. (At least, not ones awarded since 1950.) “Ownership” can only be transferred by bequest, otherwise they have to go back to the Academy. For a buck.

    So somebody’s got a shiny nude dude that’ll grace their toilet tank for perpetuity, with absolutely no resale value. Or even much intrinsic value. Under the gold plating, they’re mostly tin.

    At over 8 lbs, however, it’d make a snazzy toilet-paper spindle or murder weapon.

    • Elrohir says:

      Logic fail. It’s stolen art, it’s already illegal. If you’re already willing to violate the law to such an extent, what does it matter what the Academy wants?

      The only question is whether they’ll find a buyer. Apparently, there’s no real underground market for it. Thieves end up trying to sell it back to the original owner, or wait for decades hoping people will forget it was stolen, and then auction it.

      • Donald Petersen says:

        Logic fail? Somebody made off with a couple of unawarded Oscars. “What the Academy wants” matters in that there’s no legitimate market for Oscars that are less than 60 years old. So they’re forced to either keep them, or put them on the black market. And if, as you say, there’s no real underground market for it, then it would seem that “what the Academy wants” has prevented the thief from profiting from the theft.

        Since these Oscars are unawarded blanks, then they don’t even have the sentimental or historic value that an awarded one would have, thus further limiting their black market value. And a thief would have to be pretty dumb to attempt to sell them back to the Academy.

        • Elrohir says:

          There’s no legitimate market for any stolen art, that’s my point. If you’re buying a stolen Oscar or anything else, it’s already an illegal transaction. Making it a bit more illegal by going against the Academy’s wishes of control isn’t going to change much.

          I researched things a bit out of curiosity. It seems it goes like this:

          A. Thief works on contract. There is some guy somewhere who pays the thief for stealing a specific work. Obviously both parties are aware that it’s highly illegal, and so the buyer is quite willing to keep the work in their secret collection and never let anybody see it. If the Oscar is what they want, whatever the Academy thinks isn’t really going to make a difference.

          B. Thief works on their own initiative. If they buy something really famous, it’s nearly impossible to sell it. It’s obvious to any potential buyer that they’re about to do something very illegal. So they may try to ransom it from the original owner. Or they realize there’s no way to sell it and end up keeping it, perhaps dying without revealing its location.

          If it’s something not that famous, they may be successful at selling it some years later to somebody who doesn’t realize it’s stolen. They can’t sell it at a place like Christie’s where strict checks are made. So if they manage at all, it fetches a tiny fraction of the full value.

          With the Oscar, I guess they could try to pass it for a good reproduction, and sell it to some geek for a couple hundred like gravytop says.

          Overall, stealing art seems to be a highly dangerous and not that profitable business. Most thieves probably steal stuff first, and only then realize they have a big problem with finding a buyer.

          • Donald Petersen says:

            There’s no legitimate market for any stolen art, that’s my point. If you’re buying a stolen Oscar or anything else, it’s already an illegal transaction. Making it a bit more illegal by going against the Academy’s wishes of control isn’t going to change much.

            I understand your point, but I think you initially misunderstood mine. Of course there’s no legitimate market for any stolen art. But there is generally a legitimate market for art which is not stolen. However, there is not a legitimate market for Oscar statuettes, stolen or legitimately owned, since the Academy changed the conditions of ownership in 1950. If somebody who currently possesses the Best Picture statuette for Casablanca wanted to unload it on eBay, they could, since that Oscar was awarded before the current contractual obligation was created as a condition of receiving the award. (That’s how David Copperfield got hold of the Best Director award for Casablanca.) But if, say, Liz Taylor fell on hard times and wanted to unload her BUtterfield 8 Best Actress Oscar from 1960, she’d first have to offer it to the Academy for $1. And the Academy would take it, since they do not want these things on the open market.

            Now this contractual obligation does not actually put a gun to La Taylor’s head and prevent her from trying to sell it. But it eliminates all legitimate auction houses, etc, as sales venues, and it also eliminates legally-binding transactions. If I bought her Oscar, I could show it off to some of my friends, but I couldn’t insure it, and since my “ownership” of it would be illegitimate, I couldn’t even complain to the cops if someone walked off with it. The Academy would have the right to pursue seizure of it, if they caught wind that I had bought it.

            These inconveniences necessarily limit the number of people who might be tempted to spend a lot of money on it. I will grant that there are probably several well-heeled scofflaws who might pay a pretty penny for Liz Taylor’s Oscar, or maybe even Paul Haggis’ Best Screenplay statuette for Crash (there’s no accounting for taste, even in the underworld).

            But a couple of blank, unawarded Oscars? Even with their unique serial numbers, they might as well be high-quality replicas sold at Suncoast Motion Picture Company in the Glendale Galleria back in 2003. Sure, there will be people willing to pay a couple hundred bucks for them. (The Academy pays about $200 apiece to the manufacturer for them.) But pre-1950 awarded Oscars have sold for six figures.

            In any case, you’re right in that the Academy’s official position does nothing to change the fact that these two blank Oscars are stolen property, and thus would have to be traded on the black market anyway. They were not awarded to anyone, and so are inarguably still the Academy’s property.

        • gravytop says:

          Re the “no underground market” thing. What does this even mean? If Elrohir is going to say that there aren’t TONS of movie geeks who would pay at least a couple of hundred bucks for an Oscar Blank, well… I don’t need no Google to tell me that’s B.S.

    • Anonymous says:

      You send them overseas and sell them to foreign movie buffs.

      I believe that the agreements state that neither the recipient or their heirs will sell the award… but you can’t rope a nonconsenting party into a contract. So I’m pretty sure that an heir could get away with selling one provided they had an attorney willing to fight it.

      According to an old Forbes article they’re being sold quietly.

      http://www.forbes.com/2006/03/01/oscars-black-market_cx_lr_0301blackmarketoscars.html

      I once considered putting a “We Buy Oscars” ad in Variety just to see who would bite.

      • Antinous / Moderator says:

        The Academy is so uptight about it, it makes me want to see Sacheen Littlefeather doing something unspeakable to the sacred little statue.

  11. Anonymous says:

    The second painting on the bottom row is actually one of mine. The painting was stolen from La Luz de Jesus Gallery quite a few years ago!

  12. Anonymous says:

    I can’t believe the LAPD is boasting about stealing someone’s art database. For shame.

  13. Tim says:

    Is it just me or is the one on the right, second row from the bottom basically just the painting equivalent of a Playboy Centerfold?

  14. Rob Larsen says:

    It looks like the Action #1 and Detective #27 were Nic Cage’s. When he sold his, quite significant, comic collection those two books were notably absent from the catalog. Apparently they’d been stolen some years earlier.

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