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10 Warhol artworks stolen from LA home

A MULTIMILLION dollar collection of Andy Warhol artwork depicting famous sporting figures has been stolen from a West Los Angeles home, police said.

The 11 color screenprints, each 40 inches by 40 inches (100 centimeters by 100 centimeters), were taken from businessman Richard Weisman's home sometime between Sept. 2 and 3, said Detective Mark Sommer of the Los Angeles Police Department's art theft detail. A US$1 million reward was being offered for information leading to the return of the artwork.

The editioned prints were on display in Weisman's living room and his house was locked up. It wasn't clear exactly when the silk screen works were taken or how the thieves got into the home.

The theft was discovered by the family's longtime nanny who arrived at the home to find the large works missing from the walls. She immediately went to a neighbor's to call police, Sommer said yesterday.

"This was a very clean crime," Sommer said. "(The home) wasn't ransacked."

The stolen pictures include images of O.J. Simpson, Muhammad Ali, soccer star Pele and tennis champion Chris Evert. It wasn't known exactly how much they were worth but Weisman tried to sell the collection in 2002 for US$3 million.

Weisman's home contained other valuable artwork but this was untouched.

"For some reason they had an interest in this collection," Sommer said.

A neighbor saw a maroon van in the driveway of Weisman's home around the time of the robbery, and police are seeking more information about that, Sommer said.

Weisman declined to comment about details of the case when reached by The Associated Press yesterday.

Detective Don Hrycyk said the weeklong delay in announcing the theft was to allow detectives to confirm the reward and gather descriptions and photographs of the missing artworks.


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