Rembrandt stolen from California hotel

Aug. 15, 2011 at 9:14 AM

LOS ANGELES, Aug. 15 (UPI) -- A Rembrandt drawing, "The Judgment," was stolen from a luxury hotel in Marina del Rey, Calif., despite top-notch security, officials said.

The 11-by-7-inch drawing was valued at more than $250,000 and was taken from the Ritz-Carlton Marina del Rey when the curator was distracted, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Investigators reviewing hotel security video said the heist late Saturday was thought out in advance. The drawing disappeared when someone distracted a curator.

"The hotel has top-quality security," a Los Angeles County sheriff's spokesman said. "We believe this was a well-thought-out and well-planned theft."

Officials said the hotel sometimes offers high-value artwork for sale. The drawing belongs to the Linerais Institute of San Francisco.

Hotel officials declined to comment on the theft, saying only the hotel is cooperating with investigators.

The Dutch master's works are popular targets for art thieves, art experts said, second only to works by Pablo Picasso. There have been 81 documented thefts of Rembrandt's works in the past 100 years, said Anthony Amore, co-author of the book "Stealing Rembrandts."

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