Overnight in Houston security guards at Chase Tower downtown stopped some well-dressed thieves from stealing a painting hanging in one of the common areas of the building.
The men dressed in business casual talked their way past guards by claiming they worked in the building, but once they were in they nabbed a large painting (it looks to be a beach landscape).
The guards spotted the men on a security camera, gave chase, and they ultimately dropped the painting outside. They were caught and detained by HPD officers who were in the area; the men will be charged with felony theft. The painting was recovered.
The painting, which hung outside the Alonti Cafe in the underground tunnel system, was commissioned in the 1990’s from artist Joan Steinman. Harwood Taylor of Gremillion & Co. Fine Art, which represents Steinman’s work in Houston, said the piece was worth $18,000-$20,000. KPRC reported that the two alleged thieves, Juan Noriega, 25, and Austin Brown, 24, appeared in front of a Houston judge on July 3 and were charged with theft. Brown’s attorney claimed his client didn’t intend to steal the painting—it was lying on the floor and he assumed it was trash!