Eight stolen science-fiction figures worth an estimated $14,750 have been returned to Northridge artist Joe Sid after they were bought at a swap meet.
Sid, whose clay action figures of movie and comic-book heroes are popular among sci-fi buffs and movie stars, said he retrieved the stolen sculptures from the home of Pacoima collector John Golden on Thursday, after Golden realized he had acquired stolen works.
"My wife is happy, and I'm the most happy of anyone," said Sid, a former designer and emigre from Thailand who forms the figures from stiff clay, then paints them with acrylic paint.
The foot-high sculptures were stolen from a storage locker at Sid's apartment complex late Monday or early Sunday. A thief apparently cracked the lock. Sid said the eight statues make up the best of his work.
Sid's monsters and bulky action heroes are sold at several comic book and collector's shops around the area for anywhere from several hundred to several thousand dollars apiece. Several dealers in science-fiction collectibles said the distinctively detailed, lifelike works are one of a kind.
Golden, a collector and fan of science-fiction movies, said a friend bought the eight sculptures for $450 at the San Fernando Swap Meet and brought them over to his house.
Golden traded his friend a television set for some of the sculptures. Shortly after, though, Golden saw a newspaper report of the theft and realized the works were probably Sid's. He contacted Sid through a store where Sid's work is sold, made a report to police and returned all the sculptures.
"They are beautiful, something I've never seen in my life," Golden said. "They looked so real."
Sid said some of the figures were slightly damaged by the ordeal, but can be repaired.