Alleged thief arrested over stolen painting

April 21, 2013 at 2:10 PM
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OLYMPIA, Wash., April 21 (UPI) -- A Washington man was arrested for trying to sell a painting he allegedly stole to an antique shop where the theft victim had originally bought it, police said.

Dennis Avery, 48, was ordered held without bail on Friday after a judge ruled that there was probable cause to support charges of trafficking in stolen property and possession of stolen property, The Olympian (Olympia, Wash.) reported.

The suspect was arrested Thursday during a sting operation at Sherburne Antiques and Fine Art in Olympia.

Store owner Jerry Sherburne said Avery brought in J.J. Englehart oil painting brought in to sell for $500.

Sherburne said he realized, "I've owned this painting before. I don't ever forget a painting."

After Avery left the store, Sherburne called Richard Kelley, the man who had originally bought the painting from the shop, and asked about the painting.

"Mr. Kelley indicated he did not sell it and it was stolen," Sherburne said, adding that he then contacted police who instructed him to set up a "buy/bust operation" at the store.

Sherburne said he set up an appointment with Avery for Thursday, during which detective identified himself to Avery and informed him he was in possession of a stolen painting.

"I didn't know it was stolen," Avery said. He then decline to comment on how the painting came into his possession.

"I want to consult with an attorney," he said.

Thurston County Sheriff's Sgt. Ken Clark said Friday that the painting will be returned to Kelley.

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