ART THEFT SUSPECT WANTED
(Suspect Arrested and Art Recovered)
On Thursday, September 3, wanted suspect Matthew Taylor, who also uses the name Matthew Taylor Nelson surrendered himself to authorities. Media attention and dogged pursuit of the Taylor by Indian River County Sheriffs and other Florida law enforcement personnel led to Taylor’s decision to finally surrender after repeatedly failing to do so on prior occasions as arranged by his attorney Harland Braun.
The media coverage also led to the recovery of two additional stolen artworks in L.A. and the sighting of a third in Florida. The three paintings disappeared from the same art gallery between 2004 and 2006 at times coinciding with visits by Taylor. On 9/1/09, two of the stolen artworks valued at $40,000 were turned over to police.
A third stolen painting was spotted in the possession of Taylor last year in Vero Beach. The current location of the painting is unknown.
Los Angeles: 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 Taylor’s 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. Taylor’s attorney, Harlan Braun, has tried to arrange for Taylor’s 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 Taylor’s 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 Taylor’s current whereabouts can contact LAPD’s 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.