The Boulder Police Department recently recovered an estimated $400,000 worth of stolen paintings, as well as a large stash of fentanyl pills at a hotel in Lakewood, Colorado.
According to police, a truck transporting several valuable paintings from Los Angeles to Englewood, Colorado, and Santa Fe, New Mexico, was robbed when they stopped at a hotel for the night in Boulder on December 14.
Employees from the transportation company said when they awoke the next morning, they found the truck’s padlock had been cut open, and five paintings were missing.
Among the paintings was a portrait from Elaine de Kooning, famous for her abstract portraits of JFK, as well as a painting by Jane Freilicher and three landscape paintings of the Taos and Laguna Pueblos by members of the Taos Society of Artists.
Patrol Officer Patrick Meehan shortly received a tip that the artwork was in a hotel room in Lakewood.
After coordinating with their Lakewood colleagues, the BPD coordinated a search of the room, which led them to discover the stolen artwork and other stolen items, including two handguns and electronic devices.
Officers also seized a large stash of drugs containing around 2,000 fentanyl pills and 23 grams of methamphetamine in the raid.
The suspect, 31-year-old Brandon Camacho-Levine, has been booked on multiple felony charges related to drug trafficking, weapons possession, trespass and theft.
The BPD said that the FBI also assisted in the investigation.
“This is a prime example of the great policework our officers do every day in Boulder, and I could not be more proud of Officer Meehan, Patrol, the Special Enforcement Unit and our partners at the Lakewood Police Department. Not only did we recover this artwork still intact, but we also took these deadly drugs that plague our community off the street,” Boulder Police Chief Maris Herold said in a statement.
An art advisor for a family who purchased the paintings reacted to the news of the robbery.
“My reaction was fury. I was so upset that they had been taken,” Colleen Fanning said. “We were shocked and appalled and had no idea that something like this could even happen.”