LOS ANGELES, CA.- The Los Angeles Police Department
s (LAPD) Art Theft Detail is searching for art dealer Matthew Taylor, 41, who lives in Vero Beach, Florida. An arrest warrant has been issued for Taylor for grand theft and receiving stolen property in connection with the theft of a Granville Redmond painting. Bail has been set at $500,000.
Taylor has worked as an art dealer who would visit various art galleries, obtaining art on consignment. In October of 2006, Taylor visited the L.A. Fine Art Gallery in Los Angeles where he was known to the owner and staff. Detectives believe that Taylor took advantage of this trust to remove available painting out of a storage room that is not accessible to the public. He then borrowed a car and went to an art show in Santa Monica where he offered the painting for sale to William Karges who owns art galleries in Beverly Hills and Carmel. Taylor offered the painting for sale out of the trunk of his car in the parking lot, stating he was selling it for his mother.
Karges bought the painting for $85,000 and sold it to a client for over $236,000. The painting was not discovered missing and reported to the police until after Karges sold it to a client. Detectives posted a crime alert on the LAPD website. Karges gallery personnel stumbled upon the alert in 2007 and contacted police.
In 2009, detectives finished their investigation and obtained an arrest warrant for Taylor. However, before Florida police could respond to Taylors residence to take him into custody, detectives learned that Karges attorney had inexplicably tipped off Taylor of the criminal charges filed against him. As a result, police have thus far been unable to locate Taylor. Taylors attorney, Harlan Braun, has tried to arrange for Taylors surrender on several occasions but Taylor has repeatedly failed to appear.
During the investigation, L.A. Fine Art Gallery recalled several other thefts of art that coincided with visits to the gallery by Taylor. In 2004, paintings by Johann Mertz and William Malherbe, valued at $40,000, were stolen from the front showroom. A $20,000 Lucien Frank painting similarly disappeared from the showroom in 2006. Taylor had visited the gallery during both time periods.
Detectives would like to speak to anyone who may have been victimized by Matthew Taylor, who has also used the name Matthew Taylor Nelson. Detectives are also searching for Taylors mother, Patricia Taylor, 76 years old, to determine if she is being exploited by her son. Patricia is believed to be in poor mental and physical condition.
Anyone with information about Matthew or Patricia Taylors current whereabouts can contact LAPDs Art Theft Detail at 213-485-2524 or during off-hours, calls may be directed to a 24-hour, toll-free number at 1-877-LAPD-24-7 (527-3247). Callers may also text Crimes with a cell phone or log on to www.lapdonline.org
and click on Web tips. When using a cell phone, all messages should begin with LAPD. Tipsters may remain anonymous.