Man allegedly stole artwork from dead Warhol assistant

Dec. 12, 2013 at 8:27 AM
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CORTLANDT, N.Y., Dec. 12 (UPI) -- A man who found Ronald Cutrone, artist and former assistant to Andy Warhol, dead in his New York home allegedly stole some of his artworks, police said.

Cortlandt, N.Y., police charged Hiram Noel Mendez Tuesday with felony second-degree burglary, petty larceny and second-degree obstructing governmental administration, the Journal News of White Plains, N.Y., reported Thursday.

Police said Mendez was checking on Cutrone, 65, July 20 at his Lake Peekskill home, when he discovered the man dead of what police said appeared to be natural causes.

Mendez, 35, allegedly left Cutrone's home after discovering him dead and returned to steal several artworks from the home before calling 911 to notify authorities about the death, said senior investigator Brian Hoff.

"We recovered what we believe to be only a fraction of the stolen art," Hoff said.

Mendez's charges could change if additional stolen items are recovered. He was held in Putnam County jail on $25,000 bail and was due back in court Thursday, the newspaper said.

Cutrone was best known for his paintings of well-known cartoon characters, which were shown at the Whitney Museum and the Museum of Modern Art. He was an assistant to Warhol during the much of the 1970s.

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