Ivory-Smuggling Case Turns Up Stolen Art

Alaska officials find paintings lost in '05


Officials from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife service are hoping to return a cache of stolen art uncovered last year during an investigation into a major ivory-smuggling operation in Alaska. Prosecutors say Jesse Leboeuf and Loretta Sternbach, who were found with poached ivory taken from some 100 walruses, also planned to sell five stolen paintings worth as much as $1 million. Investigators believe the paintings were taken from a collector named Nicolette Wernick in 2005. It is the first known case in USFWS history involving stolen art. “There’s been things like jewelry from overseas made from parts of endangered animals, but as far as pieces of fine art, that’s never happened, as far as I can remember,” said spokesman Bruce Woods.

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