Detectives Crack Huge L.A. Art Heist; 9 Paintings Recovered

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“Les Paysans” by Marc Chagall. (Credit: Los Angeles Police Department)

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Nine works of art that were stolen six years ago in one of the largest art heists in L.A. history have been recovered by investigators from the Los Angeles Police Department and the FBI, according to court documents obtained by The Times.

After an undercover operation at a West Los Angeles hotel in October, federal authorities detained Raul Espinoza, 45, who tried to sell the paintings — which are valued at $10 million — for $700,000 cash.

The nine works recovered were among the dozen stolen from an Encino home on the morning of Aug. 24, 2008.

A thief or thieves entered through the unlocked kitchen door of a wealthy real estate investor’s home and made off with works including Marc Chagall’s “Les Paysans,” and Diego Rivera’s “Mexican Peasant.”

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