Nearly $10 million in art recovered, but Porsche still missing
An automobile stereo shop near Pasadena was used to hide most of the nearly $10 million in artwork stolen from noted bond trader Jeffrey Gundlach's Santa Monica home, authorities say. Not at the car shop, though, was Gundlach's red 2010 Porsche Carrera, which is still missing.
“Maybe whoever has it will drive to a Ralphs parking lot and just drop it off and end this,” Gundlach said of the Porsche.
Gundlach got word Thursday from Santa Monica police that the art had been found and that two suspects had been arrested. He had offered a near-record $1.7-million bounty for the return of his cherished collection, stolen earlier this month while he was away on business. All of the art, including works by Jasper Johns, Piet Mondrian and Richard Diebenkorn, was recovered, most pieces from the automobile stereo shop.
The big break in the case happened Wednesday, when Pasadena police contacted the Santa Monica Police Department about a tip, according to a statement from the Santa Monica Police Department.
Officers and investigators from the two departments on Wednesday raided Al & Ed's Autosound store on South Rosemead Boulevard in unincorporated east Pasadena. They recovered most of the paintings and arrested the store's manager on suspicion of possessing stolen property. He was identified as Jay Jeffrey Nieto, 45, of Canyon Country.
A second suspect, Wilmer Bolosan Cadiz, 40, was arrested at his home in Rosemead, also on suspicion of possessing stolen property. Police said he was in possession of four paintings.
The robbery from Gundlach's home shook Southern California’s art world, which encompasses expansive private collections held by movie moguls, celebrities and philanthropists.
“The focus was on recovering the artwork, and it was all recovered,” Gundlach told The Times. “The thieves had worked on moving the property, but we were able to get a good lead and apprehend them. It’s a great day for the art world.”
Gundlach discovered the crime Sept. 14 after returning home from a two-day business trip to New York. In addition to the art, the thieves made off with expensive watches, rare bottles of wine and his red car.
He did not know who, if anybody, would get the reward. He had offered $1 million for the return of a Mondrian painting called “Composition (A) En Rouge Et Blanc,” which is said to be the highest ever reward for a single painting.
Gundlach said the thieves had been in the midst of selling the Mondrian.
One lesson Gundlach learned was to beef up protection: “I will continue to take good care of it,” he said. “There have been many upgrades to security and armed guards that are now on the property.”
--Joe Bel Bruno and Stuart Pfeifer
Photo: Jay Jeffrey Nieto, 45, and Wilmer Bolosan Cadiz, 40. Credit: Santa Monica Police Department