With apologies for missing this yesterday, the New York Post covers the arrest in the recovery of the second Roerich painting stolen from the artist’s Upper West Side of Manhattan museum. The couple arrested may not have stolen it. And, in a terrible irony, the man wondered whether the painting was real or a fake.
On Sept. 3, Ryjenko and Croussouloudis — carrying the painting in a blue paper shopping bag — traveled to a Lower East Side Starbucks to meet with the detective, police said. While Ryjenko waited outside, Croussouloudis met with the phony collector and asked for $20,000 for the painting. She even warned him that the work of art had been stolen and that he would be unable to freely display it in his gallery, police said.
The cop then asked her to come with him to his gallery where he would give her the money. As she and Ryjenko walked with him up Allen Street, they were arrested. A law-enforcement source said the couple denied having stolen the painting. But Ryjenko, who has a long criminal record, pleaded guilty in Manhattan Criminal Court yesterday to criminal possession of stolen property in return for four months in jail.
“I knew it was stolen,” he told Judge Anthony Ferrara. “I didn’t know if it was real or not.”
Couple Busted with Stolen Painting (NY Post)