Man charged with stealing nearly $500,000 in movie posters
A Reseda man was arraigned Thursday on theft-related charges for allegedly stealing nearly $500,000 worth of movie posters for scores of films, including current box-office blockbuster "The Hunger Games."
Christian Eric Stevens, 36, appeared in a Van Nuys courtroom to answer charges that he stole 3,000 movie posters from bus shelters.
He pleaded not guilty to one count each of grand theft of personal property and receiving stolen property.
Neither Stevens nor his lawyer could be reached for comment.
The criminal complaint includes a special allegation that Stevens took property of a value exceeding $200,000.
If convicted on all charges, he faces a maximum of five years behind bars.
Prosecutors allege Stevens stole the 3,000 posters owned by CBS from bus shelters in the San Fernando Valley between June 3, 2011, and March 27, 2012. He is accused of selling them on an online auction site for more than $450,000.
The Los Angeles Police Department, which investigated the case, said the stolen posters were advertisements for such films as "The Hunger Games."
Acting on a tip from CBS security, LAPD detectives from the West Valley Division went online to purchase one of the posters. After securing a search warrant for Stevens' home, investigators found a trove of the posters, which have "not for resale" stamped on the back.
"There were posters for virtually every movie that's been out for the last two years," said LAPD Cmdr. Andrew Smith.
-- Andrew Blankstein
Photo: "The Hunger Games" poster