Entries in Stolen (15)


Toddler Steals Washington Teen's Violin

Nichola Evans/Stockbyte(MOUNT VERNON, Wash.) -- Police believe a Washington woman used her toddler to steal an antique violin from a teenager Wednesday afternoon at a local restaurant.

Mount Vernon Police Lt. Chris Cammock told ABC News that 17-year-old Kalob Tatum entered a McDonald’s with his backpack and violin after school. When he went up to the counter to order a burger, he turned around, and his 100-year-old Czechoslovakian copy of a Stradivarius violin was missing.

“When I saw the violin gone, my heart just dropped,” Tatum told ABC affiliate KOMO News. “I had this feeling that something terrible just happened.”

Tatum has been playing the violin since kindergarten, according to Lt. Cammock. The teen earned a scholarship to perform in New York this summer.

“I got a scholarship to a two-week camp and… I do not have a violin and I don’t have the money to get a new one right now,” Tatum told KOMO.

Officers searched for the violin immediately following the theft.

“On the security video that’s inside the McChevron (McDonald’s there is attached to a Chevron gas station), it showed a young girl who picked up the violin and left the restaurant with her mother,” Cammock said. “By depiction, it looks like the mother would have been aware that her daughter was taking it.”

Officers then took the footage obtained from the store and circulated the girl’s picture.

On Thursday, Cammock says an officer on patrol spotted the mother and daughter walking near a school.

“The officer stopped her, had a conversation with her and asked for the violin,” Cammock said. “The violin was then returned to the victim.”

The mother, who was not identified, faces possible charges of theft, Cammock says.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


SUV in Deadly Ohio Crash Reported Stolen

Joseph Devenney/Getty Images(WARREN, Ohio) -- A speeding SUV that hit a guardrail, flipped over and landed upside down in a pond Sunday morning, killing six teenagers, was stolen, according to the vehicle's owner.

The owner filed a stolen-car report with police on Monday, police said.  It was unclear where the teens got the vehicle or whether they knew it was stolen.

Two boys survived the crash in Warren, Ohio, including Brian Henry, who described the crash and how he survived it to ABC News affiliate WYTV.

Henry, 18, and Asher Lewis, 15, were the only survivors of the crash that killed six of their friends, ranging in age from 14 to 19.

Henry told WYTV that he smacked his head on the dashboard and lost consciousness during the crash.  It was the cold water that woke him up.

"First thing I thought was that I just wanted to give up," Henry told WYTV.  "I was like, I can't go out like that."

Henry tried to smash his way out of the car.

"It took me six or seven times to bust the window," he said.

But when he tried to swim out, he found himself entangled with seatbelts.  He had to take off his shoes and pants in order to escape, Henry said.

As the SUV filled with water, Henry and Lewis sprinted a quarter of a mile to the nearest residence so they could call 911.

"I wasn't thinking about myself," Henry said.  "I was thinking about the other lives that were left behind to get them help.  I didn't care if I was busted up.  I just had to get help there first."

The eight teens had packed into a Honda Passport, which seats five people, and some were likely not wearing seatbelts, authorities said.

It was the deadliest wreck in the history of Trumbull County, located in northeastern Ohio, and the worst traffic accident in the state in at least the past three years, Lt. Brian Holt of the Ohio State Highway Patrol said on Monday.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Ancient Petroglyphs Stolen Along California Cliffs; Local Native Americans Stunned

File photo. Tom Brakefield/Thinkstock(BISHOP, Calif.) -- Petroglyphs, rock engravings left by ancient Native American people, stood along the California cliffs for up to 5,000 years. Yet it only took a concrete saw and pliers for thieves to steal the ancient rock writings last month, leaving the surrounding community stunned.

“When we went out there and looked at it, it hit my heart more than it did anything else,” said Raymond Andrews, the historic preservation officer of the Bishop Paiute tribe. “These are old and it’s part of our culture.”

The thieves did damage to six different petroglyphs, removing five and damaging one that was left behind. The carvings stood along cliffs of the Eastern Sierra Volcanic Tableland near the California-Nevada border, approximately 15 miles north of Bishop, Calif. They are what the local community calls “rock writings,” also referred to as rock art.

“They’re old writings that our local people here still go out to periodically to visit, either just to be around them or pray to them,” said Andrews.


Archaeologists describe the carving as an “engraving with color contrast,” created by removing the exterior coating of the rock that exposes lighter-colored stone underneath.

For archaeologists and members of the tribe, the carvings are much more than just physical representation of the past.

“It’s a very important spiritual and ceremonial artifact in history,” said Greg Haverstock, an archaeologist with Bishop field office of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).   “It has a very religious value and it’s irreplaceable.”

Haverstock said if the thieves try to sell the artifacts, each piece could run anywhere from $500 to $1,500. He said that even if the carvings were recovered, it would be nearly impossible to restore them.

“It’s more than the actual motifs they stole, but also in the process of stealing them they scarred and damaged the surrounding petroglyphs.” said Haverstock. “There’s no way that you could properly restore it.”

As a result, authorities have ramped up security in the region and the BLM is now offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to arrests. Under the Archaeological Resource Protection Act, those convicted with theft and vandalism could face a $20,000 fine and five years imprisonment.

“It’s not only Native American history but it’s everybody’s history,” said Andrews. “Now nobody’s grandchildren are going to be able to enjoy those because now they’re gone. Hopefully they’ll come back.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Bikes Stolen from Cancer Charity Cyclists

Hemera/Thinkstock(SEATTLE) -- Two days after completing a cross-country bike ride to raise cancer awareness, Zach Boyer and Chey Hillsgrove say their bikes were stolen.

Boyer and Hillsgrove, both college students, were visiting friends in Seattle after completing a 4,000 mile charity bike ride from Baltimore to Portland. They left their bikes locked on a rack on their van’s roof overnight in front of their friends’ home.

“We woke up in the morning and saw the window of our van was broken, the roof rack was entirely torn off and the bikes were gone,” Boyer said.

Boyer and Hillsgrove had spent 70 days biking to support the “4K for Cancer” program. “We give money to scholarships for young adults affected by cancer and toward overall awareness and fundraising,” Boyer said.

Boyer said he is certain the thieves knew they were stealing bikes being used for a charity ride, since the van was clearly labeled with “4K for Cancer” logos.

Boyer and Hillsgrove filed a police report and gave local bike and pawn shops their bikes’ serial numbers in case someone tried to sell them.

Boyer has set up a Facebook page for leads, but the bikes have not yet been recovered.

Still, Boyer said he is keeping things in perspective. “I’m still trying to look toward the positive, the positive being the ride itself, because it was spectacular. I recommend any able-bodied person do it, whether for charity or not.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Stolen Matisse Painting Reportedly Recovered After Almost a Decade

Joe Raedle/Getty Images(MIAMI) -- A $3 million missing Matisse painting that had been stolen nearly 10 years ago and swapped for a fake at a Venezuelan museum has reportedly been recovered by FBI agents posing as art collectors at the Loews Hotel in Miami Beach.

A man and a woman allegedly tried to sell Henri Matisse’s 1925 "Odalisque in Red Pants" to undercover agents for $1.5 million, reported ABC’s Miami affiliate WPLG.

James Marshall, spokesman for the FBI’s Miami division, said he could, “neither confirm nor deny information on this matter at this time.”

The original painting of the dark-haired woman kneeling topless in red pants had been on display at the Sofia Imber Contemporary Art Museum in Caracas since 1981, save when it was loaned to a Spanish exhibition in 1997, WPLG reported.

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But an email correspondence in 2002 between the museum’s director, Rita Salvestrini, and Miami art collector Genaro Ambrosino regarding a rumor that the painting was for sale led to the realization that the Matisse hanging in the museum was a forgery.

“The person who made the fake is quite intelligent,” said Todd Cronan, a professor of art history at Emory University in Atlanta.

Cronan said that what made the counterfeit different from the original was the shadow on the woman’s left arm.

“It merges the body with the background,” he said. “That’s something Matisse refused to do in this period.”

Even though critics are divided over Matisse’s works in the 1920s, which has resulted in their sometimes being priced lower than some of his other paintings, Cronan said that the $1.5 million asking price for “Odalisque in Red Pants” was very low.

An administrator at the Sofia Imber Contemporary Art Museum confirmed to ABC News that the painting had been stolen, but for security reasons, would not provide more information about the investigation.

The Caracas newspaper El Mundo speculated that the Matisse may have been swapped during the 1997 Spanish exhibition loan.

In 2004, the FBI created the Art Crime Team, which works with foreign law enforcement officials and the FBI’s legal attache offices in art-related investigations.

The specialized unit has recovered more than 2,500 items valued at more than $150 million since its inception.

According to the FBI’s National Stolen Art File, this is not the first Matisse work to have been reported stolen. The artist’s 1905 painting “Luxembourg Garden” has yet to be recovered.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Stolen Book of Mormon Found in Washington DC

ABC News(WASHINGTON)-- Federal authorities have arrested a man in Washington, D.C., for stealing a rare, first-edition copy of the Book of Mormon from an Arizona bookstore.

Police in Mesa, Ariz., said the FBI and U.S. Marshal’s Service found the book in the Washington, D.C., apartment of Jay Linford. The 182-year-old book was reported missing on May 28 by Helen Schlie, the owner of Rare and Out of Print Books and Art.  The book was valued at $100,000.

The 88-year-old shop owner kept the book in an unlocked file cabinet in the bookstore.  Schlie does not have security cameras in her store, but has a night watchman.

She told ABC News shortly after the book was stolen that she pinpointed a 20-minute window of time when her guard took a bathroom break that the theft must have occurred.

“So many people know where the book was.  I’ve never had it under glass.  I’ve always let people touch it and hold it and take pictures with it,” she told ABC News after the book was stolen.

Police say Linford is being held on $40,000 bond pending extradition to Arizona.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Picasso Piece Stolen from Illegal Party Mansion

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NOVATO, Calif.) -- A Pablo Picasso lithograph was among several high-priced items lifted from a vacant California mansion where 100 teens broke in and threw a party, police said.

The illegal party was thrown May 27 at a Novato, Calif., mansion owned by former Ukranian Prime Minister Pavlo Lazarenko.

The next day, a caretaker noticed laptop computers, leather coats and silver candlesticks priced at $5,000 were missing from the 19,500-square-foot residence.

“They had gotten in and basically ransacked multiple rooms in the house,” Sgt. Eric Riddle of the Novato Police Department told the Marin Independent Journal.

The lithograph is worth an estimated $30,000.

The teens fled the home when police arrived. No arrests were made.

Lazarenko is currently serving a nine-year sentence in a California prison for money laundering, wire fraud and transporting stolen goods. The former prime minister was convicted in 2004 of stealing $114 million while in office.

Lazarenko owes Marin County $2 million in back taxes.

He is scheduled to be released on Nov. 1.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Vigilante Bicyclist Sees Stolen Bike on Craigslist, Steals It Back

Ingram Publishing/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- A Washington, D.C., man took justice into his own hands this week, when he stole back his bicycle after seeing a photo of it posted on Craigslist.

Danny Lesh told ABC News affiliate WJLA that he recently lent his 14-year-old Cannondale bicycle to a friend, who locked it up with a cable bike lock that was easily cut through by an enterprising thief.

After the $600 bike was stolen, Lesh checked Craigslist and found a post advertising his bike on sale for $100. He immediately recognized the custom stickers and pedals.

“I was furious, I was furious, but I was also determined at that point. I knew that I was pretty close to getting it back,” Lesh told the station.

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Lesh arranged to go see the bike in person, intending to buy it back, but realized that he had a better idea.

“I said, ‘Well, can I take it for a test ride?’ This guy agreed to let me take it for a test ride,” he explained.

Lesh took his own bicycle for a test ride, and never came back. The thief, with whom Lesh had arranged the meeting by cellphone, began calling Lesh and threatening to call the police.

“I stole it. I stole my bike back from the thief,” he said.

Lesh joins a handful of clever victims who have realized that their stolen goods may show up on the popular website, including Colorado resident Kathryn Lucas, who found her stolen bike on Craigslist and practiced the same vigilante justice last year.

In Portland, Ore., an entire task force in the police department has been created to retrieve stolen goods from Craigslist.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


500 Parking Meters Stolen: NJ Cops Hunt for Thief

Eric O'Connell/Getty Images(TOMS RIVER, N.J.) -- Investigators are trying to figure out who stole more than 500 parking meters from storage in Toms River, N.J., the township’s police chief said.

The meters, valued at more than $75,000, were discovered missing by a parking authority employee Monday afternoon. The lock to the storage trailer had been cut and the meters removed, Police Chief Michael Mastronardy said.

“We’re not sure at this time if it was a single incident or not,” Mastronardy said. “It could have happened any time between September and Monday.”

Each cast-iron meter weighs 50 pounds, totaling about 12.5 tons of stolen material.

Mastronardy said the meters were in storage until the town needed to recondition them for use.

Bob Pellegrino, owner of Universal Recycling and Scrap Iron in Toms River, said local scrap yards might pay $11 per 100 pounds for items like the meters, but are constantly on the lookout for suspicious items coming in to their businesses.

Mastronardy said they have no leads in the investigation so far, but are trying to get the word out for people, or even other towns, to keep their eyes open.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Holiday Grinches Steal Christmas in Massachusetts

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(BOSTON) -- Looking for those last-minute Christmas gifts? Why not just steal them.  That seems to be the trend of the moment in Massachusetts, with no less than four separate Grinch-like thefts of Christmas gifts and decorations hitting families right before the holidays.

A Lawrence, Mass., mother, 41-year-old Zaida Ramirez, came home to find her apartment vandalized and most of her carefully wrapped Christmas gifts -- including Barbie dolls and a pair of coveted sneakers -- stolen.

A host of electronics equipment was also taken, including a television and several digital cameras, but it was the theft of the gifts that really broke Ramirez’s heart “I can’t believe it. It’s just like the Grinch. They stole our gifts and we don’t have the money to replace them. I have nothing for my family,” Ramirez told ABC News.

The family is managing to get by on a single salary in this tough economy.  Ramirez’s husband works in construction and has seen his hours cut back. After basic expenses there isn’t a lot left over for food, never mind gift-giving, so Ramirez isn’t sure what her kids will open on Christmas Day. “There is nothing left, I just don’t know what we’re going to do.”

But as sad as Ramirez’s story is, coming just days before Christmas, it isn’t unique. Thieves have made off with everything from Christmas lights to those gigantic festive inflatables that dot New England lawns at this time of year.

A father-daughter theft team even got in on the act in Quincy, Mass., where police have charged 58-year-old Michael Ritchie and his daughter, 19-year-old Jennifer Ritchie, with larceny after a neighbor spotted the duo stealing packages .

It turns out that Christmas is the time of year that the criminal mind gets inventive. Thieves have taken to following delivery trucks, like UPS and Federal Express, and grabbing boxes from doorsteps before the intended recipient makes it home, said Quincy Police Captain John Dougan.

In this case, the police report states that Michael Ritchie was found with a set of speakers and a series of CDs. Later police found baby clothes and Hello Kitty items,  intended as gifts -- inside Jennifer Ritchie’s home.

Federal Express is even warning their drivers to be cautious if they think they are being followed. And with more than 100 million packages being delivered this week alone, that’s a lot of potential boxes for Grinch-wannabes.

A Somerville, Mass., couple was also arrested for stealing more than 100 packages from doorsteps in their neighborhood and in nearby towns. Most of the swiped items seemed intended as gifts, such as fruit baskets, clothing and children’s toys.  It seems, though, like the Grinch, even the thieves are feeling badly about their pre-Noel pilfering. Kristen Casey burst into tears after she was arrested and her boyfriend Manuel Sheehan reportedly told police, “I feel like such a scumbag.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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