9 Andy Warhol paintings stolen in LA and replaced with fakes

Nine Andy Warhol silk-screen prints valued at $350,000 were stolen from a business in Los Angeles and replaced with fakes, it was reported Thursday.

The Los Angeles Police Department's Art Detail is investigating the theft and looking for the original prints, said Det. Don Hrycyk, the Los Angeles Times reported.

The artwork featured two original silk-screen collections from the late pop artist, according to an LAPD affidavit filed in L.A. County Superior Court and cited by The Times.

Six signed prints were from the 1980 collection Ten Jews of the Twentieth Century valued at $150,000, featuring Louis Brandeis, Martin Buber, George Gershwin, Sarah Bernhardt, Gertude Stein and Sigmund Freud. The other stolen art pieces were from the 1983 Endangered Species collection, which is valued at $200,000 and includes three signed prints of Warhol's Siberian Tiger, Bald Eagle and Bighorn Ram.

Detectives believe the thief took photographs of the prints and replaced the art with large color copies, according to the affidavit. The silk-screens probably were stolen in the last three years, based on the condition of the fakes, according to The Times.

At least one of the prints may have been sold. A Bald Eagle print was sold through Bonhams auction house in October 2011, according to the affidavit cited by The Times. Detectives believe details about the original sale could lead them to the print, according to the affidavit.

Bonhams spokeswoman Kristin Guiter told The Times that the auction house has responded to an LAPD request for information on a Warhol print.

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