Los Angeles: Brazen thieves responsible for the theft of five separate bronze statues and sculptures in Wilshire Area and the City of Beverly Hills were taken into custody.
Between January 29 and February 12, 2008, a series of grand thefts and one attempted grand theft of these items occurred. On January 29, 2008, a bronze bust valued at $35,000 was stolen from in front of a business located on Wilshire Boulevard, Wilshire Area. On February 3, 2008, a 512-pound, six-foot-tall, bronze statue of a miner panning for gold, valued at $125,000 was stolen from Cathay Circle Park. On February 4, 2008, a bronze mailbox valued at $4,000 was stolen from in front of a home in Beverly Hills. Also on February 4, 2008, there was an attempted theft from another business on Wilshire Boulevard. On February 10, 2008, a sculpture valued at $30,000 was stolen from a business in Beverly Hills. On February 12, 2008, two bronze giraffes and a sculpture of children on a swing were stolen from in front of yet another home in Beverly Hills.
An intensive investigation by multiple detectives over several days led to the identification of the individual who had sold one of the statues at a local scrap yard. It was sold for $900. Surveillance connected this individual to a second suspect.
On February 14, 2008, detectives from the Commercial Crimes Division arrested 22-year-old Sebastian Espana and 23-year-old Jessie Hernandez. Espana and Hernandez were booked for grand theft at Jail Division. Espana's bail was set at $210,000 and Hernandez' bail was set at $230,000.
Los Angeles Police Department detectives are working in conjunction with Beverly Hills Police Department detectives on these cases. Items valued at over $130,000 have been recovered to date.
The media is asked not to contact detectives until Monday, February 18, 2008 for further details or questions regarding this case. Detective Stephanie Lazarus, Commercial Crimes Division may be reached at 213-485-2524.