Donn Zaretsky has this posted at TheArtLawBlog but the story fits so well with the previous tale of San Francisco thefts. Though this one is even darker, Bruno Nestir, pictured below, was accepting stolen works of art from New Haven institutions and in trade for heroin. Here’s the Hartford Courant story:
The paintings, photos and prints arrived one or two at a time at the brick home on Sylvan Avenue. The man who brought them allegedly stole them from places around New Haven, including the city’s public library and the Joseph Slifka Center for Jewish Life at Yale University. Inside the second-floor apartment at 24 Sylvan Ave., the 53-year-old man would trade the pieces for $30 to $40 worth of heroin, police said.
Two of the three paintings stolen from the Slifka Center were by David Gelernter, a Yale computer science professor who was seriously wounded by the Unabomber. The third was by Gelernter’s son Daniel. Together, police said Monday, the paintings are valued at $40,000.
The man also allegedly took prints from the New Haven Public Library on March 5, including one called “Elm City” by Tony Falcone. Those pieces were valued at $6,000, police said. On March 10, the man returned to the library and was recognized by library staff, who quickly called police. An officer was nearby and took the man, who has a criminal record of thefts, into temporary custody. When Det. Scott Branfuhr began looking into the library thefts, the case mushroomed.
By Friday, detectives had a search warrant for the man’s Fairmont Avenue apartment. They didn’t find the paintings, which varied widely in value, but he told them the story of taking artwork to 24 Sylvan Ave. and trading it for heroin, police said. Police raided that apartment at 12:30 a.m. Saturday and found Bruno Nestir, 47, as well as 39 paintings, photos and prints, two shotguns, two rifles, two revolvers, $987 in cash, and heroin and marijuana packaged for sale. Nestir was held on drug charges and possession of stolen property. Police are now working on an arrest warrant for the man they say stole the paintings.
Stolen Art Work Recovered in New Haven (Hartford Courant)