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Suspect Arrested In Brooklyn After Artist Retrieves Painting, Chases Him Down

But 2 Paintings Are Still Missing And More Suspects Are Wanted

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A group of thieves made off with a five-foot painting worth $10,000 after an art heist in Williamsburg, Brooklyn this past weekend, but a suspect was apprehended after the artist chased him down.

As CBS 2’s Jessica Schneider reported Tuesday night, more suspects remained on the lam this week, and there is more stolen art out there too.

Sean Leonard stood Tuesday with the $10,000 painting he almost lost, after a night at his art gallery turned into a chase.

“I wasn’t even processing ‘scared’ yet,” Leonard said. “I was like, ‘Where are these paintings?’”

Leonard was hosting an art show for his friend, Amar Stewart, Saturday night at his Cotton Candy Machine gallery, at 235 South 1st St. in Brooklyn.

When he went into this back storage room in the middle of the show, he noticed the door ajar and three paintings missing.

He ran outside and couldn’t believe what he saw.

“I found one of the guys with the Jean-Michel Basquiat portrait stashed next to a fence and a railing,” he said.

Leonard picked up Stewart’s painting of late New York City artist Jean-Michel Basquiat, and started running after the thief.

“As I’m chasing him, he jumps in a cab, and I run up, and I open the cab door, and I’m yelling at the driver while I’m on 911,” Leonard said.

Leonard forced the suspect out of the cab. He said in a Facebook post that the suspect threatened him as he got out of the cab, but he kept on chasing the suspect and stopping cabs from picking him up – all while clutching the painting.

Leonard said he chased the suspect almost to the Bedford Avenue L Line subway stop at North 7th Street and Driggs Avenue, until police came a few blocks away at North 4th Street.

Now the piece is back in the gallery, and Leonard is being praised.

“I’m not going to let someone walk away with pieces, even if you figure out a way to sneak through our back and break into our back room,” he said.

But two other paintings were still missing Tuesday. Each is worth $8,000.

Leonard and others at the gallery are just as determined to get those paintings back.

One suspect was under arrest Tuesday and facing charges of grand larceny and criminal possession of stolen property. Three others were still on the loose Tuesday, according to information supplied by Leonard.

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