Tuesday, March 11, 2014

The Thief Behind Bungled Williamsburg Art Heist Has Been Indicted

Posted By on Tue, Mar 11, 2014 at 10:11 AM

  • Images via Cotton Candy Machine/Facebook

A quick update on last week's bonkers, poorly-executed Williamsburg art theft that resulted in a gallery owner chasing a portly thief through the neighborhood until he ran out of breath: one of the guys behind it has now been indicted.

DNAinfo reports that Louis Lassalle, 49, has officially been charged after walking into an opening at Cotton Candy Machine and walking back out with a portrait of Jean Michel Basquiat valued at $10,000. He faces up to seven years in prison for charges of burglary, robbery, grand larceny, criminal possession of stolen property, petit larceny, and criminal trespass.

Brooklyn D.A. Ken Thompson said of the incident, "The brazen nature of the theft of this artwork, whether from a business, a home, or anywhere in our community, will not be tolerated. An artist’s work should be showcased, not stolen. Accordingly, Mr. Lassalle will be held accountable for his actions.”

Lassalle wasn't working alone, though; he's pictured above with two men who are suspected of stealing two other paintings from the gallery which have yet to be recovered. The lessons here are twofold: if you happen to see portraits of Nelson Mandela or Snoop Lion that are somewhere they shouldn't be, maybe check in with this gallery, and, more broadly, don't try to orchestrate a smash-and-grab theft if you're not in good enough shape to outrun the person you're stealing from.

Follow Virginia K. Smith on Twitter @vksmith.

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