Man charged in stolen van Gogh sketch case

Sept. 21, 2010 at 12:26 PM
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RATON, N.M., Sept. 21 (UPI) -- A man who was charged with receiving and then selling an alleged van Gogh drawing in New Mexico was arrested in Vermont on a burglary charge, officials said.

Edward Laird, 45, a transient who has addresses in Santa Fe and Raton, N.M., is expected to be sent back to New Mexico when his Vermont case is over, the Raton Range reported Monday.

Authorities had been unable to find Laird since the charges involving the van Gogh artwork were filed in a Raton district court last September, the Range reported.

An arrest warrant for Laird is being revised because the original warrant authorized Laird's arrest and extradition only if he was found in New Mexico. The revised warrant will cover his arrest and extradition nationwide, Deputy District Attorney Leslie Fernandez said.

Laird has a long criminal record involving burglary, larceny and grand theft in a number of states, court documents revealed, the report said.

Laird was charged in the van Gogh case after a charcoal drawing was found at a Raton antiques and furniture shop that has remained shuttered since Santa Fe Police Department detectives and an FBI agent confiscated the drawing and other items last September, the newspaper said.

A worker at the Raton shop, which had offered the van Gogh piece for sale for $250, told authorities Laird sold the artwork to the shop.

If the drawing is, in fact, a van Gogh, it could be worth $250,000 to $1 million, investigators said.

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