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Men Charged in Theft of Rare Art

Crime: Stolen items include works by Picasso, Degas and Matisse. Some objects are recovered.

October 05, 1996|RALPH FRAMMOLINO | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Three men suspected of raiding a San Pedro warehouse of $1.3 million in rare art--including works by Picasso, Degas and Matisse--have been charged with burglary after an investigation by the Los Angeles Police Department's art theft detail, authorities said Friday.

The suspects were identified as Mark Arneson, 31; William Hartman, 29, and Stanley Kovacevich, 34, all of San Pedro. The district attorney's Long Beach office filed four counts of burglary against each suspect.

Officials said the men stole rare art, furniture, china, crystal and parts of antique cars in late July from a warehouse on Pacific Avenue. The building was up for sale and its owners, Richard and Virginia Ockey, were using the warehouse to store their artwork until they moved into a new home.

Det. Don Hrycyk of the LAPD's art theft detail said in a press release Friday that some of the stolen artwork was recovered from the garages, homes and storage lockers of the three men but the majority was still missing. The Ockeys have offered a reward.

Kovacevich was on probation for auto theft and was awaiting sentencing on another burglary at the time of the crime, police said. He was arraigned in San Pedro Municipal Court on Friday.

Arneson, who with Hartman was arrested Sept. 26, was also on parole for burglary, police said. Both men entered pleas Friday and are awaiting sentencing.

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