Man arrested on gallery rooftop trying to steal Picasso, Warhol works

Man arrested on gallery rooftop trying to steal Picasso, Warhol works
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Fecha de publicación: 
13 January 2024
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Police interrupted a heist at the American Fine Art gallery in Scottsdale, Arizona, on 7 January, apprehending the would-be thief on the building’s roof.

The suspect, Harpeet Singh, who apparently traveled from California to undertake the theft, scattered stolen works on nearby rooftops before being located by a police drone and apprehended.

The burglary began around 5:45 am local time, triggering an alarm system that led to an American Fine Art employee inspecting the premises. Upon arrival, the employee noticed several missing works and the sound of an intruder on a phone call in a gallery office.

Police arrived at the gallery shortly thereafter and established a perimeter around the building. They also discovered a BMW with California license plates parked in a nearby alleyway, immediately beside an extended fire ladder providing access to the gallery.

At the time of writing, all the works stolen in the heist have been recovered save a single Keith Haring work, whose whereabouts Scottsdale Police are investigating.

With the aid of a drone, police located and promptly arrested Singh on the roof, recovering seven artworks taken from the gallery. The works, which included pieces by Andy Warhol and Pablo Picasso, were collectively valued at $250,000.

Zach Friedman, the owner of a nearby clothing store, described the morning’s events to the local CBS News station as: “People running across roofs like it’s Mission Impossible.”

While Singh awaits trial on criminal trespass and burglary charges, investigators are looking for signs of a larger art theft operation, including potential buyers for the stolen works.

“Perhaps there was a buyer already in line for the pieces of art that were stolen,” Jim Egelston, a former FBI agent said.

“It would be very difficult to pawn items of priceless art that are very unique, it would be hard to sell those online.” He added: “Just to attempt a theft of an art gallery, to me indicates some level of sophistication”.

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