Police recover stolen paintings
DENVER An Aspen police investigator recovered two paintings Thursday at the home of a Denver man who allegedly stole them from an Aspen Gallery. Lakewood police detained Tyson Hurd, 32, on suspicion of burglary.The paintings, in Aspen police custody Friday, are from the private collection of the Goss family, owners of Gypsy Woman Gallery on Main Street in Aspen. Aspen artist Earl Biss’ two oil paintings, “Indians in a Storm” and “Swimming Toward the Light,” are valued at up to $90,000 each, American Design Gallery President Paul Zueger said.
The Goss family first notified Aspen police April 14 when they noticed one painting was missing. They believed someone lifted the painting off the wall during business hours, Aspen police investigator Eric Ross said.But, on April 17, owners of the American Design Gallery in Denver notified police they bought what they thought was a stolen painting from Hurd. The descriptions matched, Ross said.Hurd also offered the Denver gallery a second painting, and the suspected theft became a suspected burglary; the Goss family searched their inventory and found a second Biss painting missing – something only an insider would know, Ross said.Hurd sold the painting to the Denver gallery for $8,500, Ross said.
“He knows the family. He knew the layout. It would be an easy thing to do,” said Lou Lou Goss, whose family owns the gallery and who was formerly married to Biss, who died in 1998.Hurd had a previous relationship with Lou Lou Goss, she said, and Ross believed Hurd banked on what he knew about the family and the gallery to steal two valuable paintings.Ross went to Denver on April 18 and contacted Hurd at his home.When questioned, Hurd said he bought the paintings at an estate sale and contended the other was in the custody of his brother, Ross said.
Hurd agreed to meet with Ross again in Denver on Thursday. When Hurd produced the second painting, Ross served him with an arrest warrant. Lakewood police took Hurd into custody.Hurd will soon be transported to Pitkin County jail. Monday he will face charges of second-degree burglary – a Class 4 felony – as well as felony theft and felony receiving (for selling the painting). Both theft charges are Class 3 felonies because of the high value of the paintings, Deputy District Attorney Gail Nichols said.Owners of the American Design Gallery said they will seek separate fraud charges against Hurd.Charles Agar’s e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
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