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Stolen Rodin sculpture worth $100K returned after 24 years

By Danielle Haynes
Stolen Rodin sculpture worth $100K returned after 24 years
A $100,000 Auguste Rodin sculpture, "Young Girl with Serpent," has been recovered 24 years after it was stolen from a California home. The original owners of the artwork said they intend to sell it. Photo courtesy Art Recovery International

LONDON, July 10 (UPI) -- Art recovery specialists recovered a bronze statue by August Rodin worth $100,000 24 years after it was stolen from a California home, officials said.

The sculpture, "Young Girl with Serpent," was one of several pieces of artwork stolen from a Beverly Hills, Calif., home while the owners were out of town for several weeks. The estimated value of the theft was more than $1 million.

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An investigation revealed the thieves were able to gain access to the residence after purchasing a copy of a key to the house from the family's housekeeper, who subsequently fled to Miami. The housekeeper was later arrested, though none of the artwork was seen again until 2011.

That's when the Rodin sculpture was offered up for auction at Christie's in New York. Representatives there realized the sculpture had been stolen and worked with Art Recovery International in London to return it to its original owners.

The sculpture was finally returned this week.

"This case was a perfect example of public and private sector collaboration," Art Recovery International CEO Christopher Marinello told Artlyst. "We are extremely grateful for the steadfast determination of the Beverly Hills Police Department, and in particular the perseverance of Detective Michael Corren, in keeping this case open for 24 years and seeing through its resolution."

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The company's spokesman, Jerome Hasler, told CNN the victims have decided to sell the artwork later this year. The rest of the items stolen in the 1991 heist remain unrecovered.

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