A stolen Picasso lithograph has been found leaning against a fence in Novato, California.
The print, one of 50 dating from 1957 and said to be worth around $30,000, was reported stolen in May. It had come from the home of jailed former Ukrainian Prime Minister Pavlo Lazarenko, after an illegal teenage party resulted in Lazarenko’s nine-bedroom, 19,500-square-foot home being looted.
At the time, Novato police Sgt. Eric Riddell told the Marin Independent Journal that the teens “had gotten in and basically ransacked multiple rooms in the house.”
The lithograph was reported missing the next day by the home’s caretaker, who also revealed $5,000 worth of computers and candlesticks had been taken.
Was this a case of somebody not knowing the value of their looted goods, or did the culprit want the print to be found? Police think the latter. The framed print, titled “femme au chignon,” was apparently found very deliberately leaned against a fence.
Police have not recovered any of the less valuable computers or candlesticks.
Lazarenko is in prison on money laundering charges and is due to be released in November. He was appointed prime minister of Ukraine in May 1996, but was forced to resign a year later after falling out with President Leonid Kuchma. He fled to the U.S. in 1999, where he was arrested in New York, transferred to San Francisco and prosecuted on money-laundering and fraud charges.