A San Fernando resident led police to $800,000 worth of stolen artworks by Scottish artist Benjamin Creme after finding them in a dead relative’s belongings, the Los Angeles Police Department said Tuesday in a news release.
The resident kept the relative’s possessions, including the colorful prints, in a storage facility before taking them out and bringing them home back in 2012.
The prints remained at the San Fernando home for years until the resident discovered they were stolen while searching their names in a law enforcement database last month, according to LAPD.
The person called police to turn them over on Sept. 25, authorities said.
LAPD officers responded to the home and found some 1,200 prints signed by Creme, the Associated Press reported.
Almost 2,000 signed prints by the artist had been reported stolen, according to the FBI’s database.
The prints found at the San Fernando resident’s home included Creme’s artworks “Flame-Coloured Deva,” “Soul Infusion” and “Polarity.” It’s unclear when the artworks were stolen or to whom they originally belonged.
Authorities did not provide identifying information on the resident who found the prints, or the relative who had them.
Creme, who died in 2016, produced many abstract, “esoteric” artworks during his lifetime and became known for his newspaper advertisements announcing a second coming of Christ – and for his belief in aliens and UFOs.
The discovery at the San Fernando home wasn’t the first time a caller led LAPD officers to stolen art.
The LAPD announced in early September that officers recovered art and artifacts that were apparently stolen during a series of burglaries in the West Los Angeles and Hollywood Hills areas nearly 30 years ago.
An auction house called police in June to report the art that appeared stolen, LAPD said.