UPDATE: Well that didn't take long. The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department announced Tuesday that the Rembrandt drawing stolen over the weekend has been recovered, the Associated Press reports.
The department didn't release further details on the recovery or discuss any possible suspects.
POST Monday at 4:17 p.m.: An expensive Rembrandt drawing was stolen over the weekend from a luxury California hotel in what police say was a “well-thought, well-planned, well-executed theft.”
The heist occurred late Saturday night at the Ritz-Carlton Marina del Rey during an exhibit where a number of expensive paintings were on sale, NBC Los Angeles reports.
"The hotel has top-quality security," police spokesman Steve Whitmore told reporters. "This appears to be a well-thought, well-planned, well-executed theft.''
But that’s not to say that the theft was necessarily elaborate. Instead, it appears to have been a deviation on the old classic, “Hey, look over there!”
Whitmore explained that the thief apparently made off with the artwork after one of his or her accomplices distracted the exhibit’s curator, possibly by pretending to be interested in making a purchase. "So the curator turned his attention away from the exhibit, towards this other individual. And when he turned back the Rembrandt was gone," Whitmore said.
The pen-and-ink artwork, known was The Judgment, is believed to have been drawn around 1665, is about 10-by-6 inches and is valued at roughly $250,000. It is one of about 700 surviving drawings that experts agree was penned by the Dutchman.
The Los Angeles Times notes that, according to a number of art experts, Rembrandts are among the most popular targets for art thieves, second only to Picassos, largely because of the artist’s name recognition. There have been more than 80 documented thefts of Rembrandt’s work in the past century.
But most of the stolen goods were ultimately recovered, an eventuality likely to be repeated this time around, Anthony Amore, chief investigator at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, told the paper. "I'd be shocked if the person who stole this piece had any idea how to fence it," he said.
L.A. police appear to share Amore’s confidence that the artwork will soon be recovered, thanks largely to surveillance footage from the hotel. “Our confidence is high that we're going to apprehend the culprit and return the original Rembrandt to its rightful owner," Whitmore said.
The photo in the upper left is of Rembrandt's Judas Returning the Thirty Pieces of Silver (otherwise known as the only drawing we could find on our wire service) but here's The Judgment: