A man was arrested in a west Los Angeles hotel after allegedly trying to sell $10 million of artwork for just $700,000.
Undercover FBI agents apprehended 45-year old Raul Espinoza, cracking one of the city’s biggest ever art heists. The stolen paintings included works by Hans Hofmann, Chaim Soutine, Arshile Gorky, Emil Nolde, Lyonel Feininger and Kess van Dongen
The paintings were taken during the break in of a wealthy real estate investor's Encino home six years ago. While the FBI recovered 9 pieces of art, the case is not complexly over as three paintings are still missing.
The art collectors were home at the time of the theft, but heard nothing, according to police. The couple's housekeeper arrived at the home to discover the thefts, the Los Angeles Times reported.
An LAPD detective followed a break in the case in September after he was tipped off to a man soliciting buyers for the stolen art, the Times reported. The subject, known as "Darko," indicated that he was "merely a middleman for an unknown person in possession of the art in California," according to a search warrant obtained by the Los Angeles Times.
An undercover operation led to Espinoza's arrest. He pleaded not guilty to one count of receiving stolen property.