The US Attorney for the Southern DIstrict of New York has charged a Queens man with stealing $600k worth of African and Native American art that he stole from an un-named employer and sold through a flea market art dealer, presumably at sums that were a fraction of the works’ true value. The collection the works were stolen from remain unidentified:
Beginning in approximately September of 2015 through October 2016, ZINDER sold, or attempted to sell, the stolen artwork through a consignment relationship with an art dealer who conducted his business through an outdoor flea market in lower Manhattan (the “Dealer”). As part of his efforts to sell the stolen artwork, ZINDER falsely claimed he had obtained the works from both the elderly widow of a sheriff in Phoenix, Arizona, and from a storage-unit close-out sale.
In total, ZINDER attempted to sell at least 13 works of art through the Dealer, worth more than $600,000. This included at least three items that ZINDER had stolen from the Company’s Greenwich, Connecticut, facility and transported to Manhattan: a Fang Reliquary Guardian Head statue valued at approximately $85,000; a Native American mask valued at approximately $75,000; and a Pende mask valued at approximately $5,000.
Eventually, the Dealer became aware that several of the artworks he had helped ZINDER to sell had been reported stolen by the Company. At that point, the Dealer contacted the FBI and began assisting in the subsequent investigation, including turning over the majority of the stolen works to the FBI.