Man Indicted for Taking $10K Painting of Basquiat From Williamsburg Gallery

By Ben Fractenberg on March 10, 2014 8:12pm 

 A portrait of Jean-Michel Basquiat worth $10,000 was recovered after being stolen from the Cotten Candy Machine Art Gallery in Williamsburg on March 1, 2014.
A portrait of Jean-Michel Basquiat worth $10,000 was recovered after being stolen from the Cotten Candy Machine Art Gallery in Williamsburg on March 1, 2014.
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Facebook/cottoncandymachine

BROOKLYN — The man accused of stealing a $10,000 portrait of Jean-Michel Basquiat from a Williamsburg gallery was indicted by a grand jury, the Brooklyn District Attorney's Office said Monday.

Cotton Candy Machine Art Gallery co-owner Sean Leonard noticed three paintings by Amar Stewart — portraits of Basquiat, Nelson Mandela and Snoop Lion — were missing during a March 1 evening closing party.

Leonard canvassed the area and found Louis Lassalle, 49, standing with the Basquiat piece, according to the Brooklyn DA.

He confronted Lassalle who took off running, leaving the painting behind.

The gallery owner called 911 and followed Lassalle until police arrested him several blocks away.

The two other paintings have still not been recovered.

“The brazen nature of the theft of this artwork, whether from a business, a home, or anywhere in our community, will not be tolerated," Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson said in a statement. "An artist’s work should be showcased, not stolen. Accordingly, Mr. Lassalle will be held accountable for his actions.”

Lassalle is charged with burglary, robbery, grand larceny, criminal possession of stolen property, petit larceny and criminal trespass.

He faces up to seven years in prison if convicted on the top charge.

 Louis Lassalle was charged with grand larceny for allegedly stealing a portrait of Jean Michel Basquiat from a Williamsburg gallery on March 1, 2014.
Louis Lassalle was charged with grand larceny for allegedly stealing a portrait of Jean Michel Basquiat from a Williamsburg gallery on March 1, 2014.
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Brooklyn Disrict Attorney

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