Speed Reads

they've cracked the case

Stolen art worth millions found after 6 years

It took a shady middleman named "Darko" to lead investigators to nine pieces of stolen art worth $10 million, missing since 2008.

Six years ago, a dozen paintings — including Diego Rivera's "Mexican Peasant" and Marc Chagall's "Les Paysans" — were stolen from a home in Encino, California, after the thief or thieves entered through an unlocked kitchen door, the Los Angeles Times reports. The case didn't go anywhere until September of this year, when a detective in the LAPD's art theft detail learned about Darko, who was looking for buyers for the stolen art.

Darko said he was just the middleman and didn't know who was holding onto the art in California. An undercover operation was set up by the FBI and LAPD in October, and a man named Raul Espinoza was arrested for allegedly trying to sell nine paintings for $700,000 cash. Espinoza has been charged with one count of receiving stolen property, and pleaded not guilty. Three paintings remain missing, but the LAPD believes they will soon be found.