Rembrandt Drawing Worth $250,000 Recovered After Theft from California Hotel

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The Linearis Institute

'The Judgment' by Rembrandt, part of the Linearis collection, was snatched from a Los Angeles exhibition Saturday night.

In July, it was a Picasso drawing that went on the lam. This month’s pièce de résistance? A Rembrandt.

UPDATED: 10:30 a.m. EDT

During an exhibition at the Ritz-Carlton in Marina del Rey, Calif. on Saturday, a prized drawing by Dutch artist Rembrandt van Rijn disappeared. But it wasn’t gone for long. Early Tuesday morning the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department announced that they’d recovered the missing art. In a dawn press conference, officials said the painting was recovered from a suburban Encino, Calif. church after police received an anonymous tip Monday pointing them to the location. No one had been arrested yet.

“The Judgment,” the quill pen-and-ink drawing dating back to 1655, was stolen during a private exhibition Saturday night where it was on display. The artwork was perched on an easel among other masterpieces at the beachfront hotel. Despite its small size, it was instantly recognized as missing around 10:30 p.m. That’s because while the tiny canvas measures only 11 by 6 inches, it’s valued at a whopping $250,000.

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Authorities said more than one person was responsible for the heist, which took place late in the evening. The event’s curator was “distracted” talking to a guest who was apparently interested in purchasing a piece. But, quite ironically, behind their backs a purchase was being circumvented. When the curator focused back on the artwork a mere 15 minutes later, the Rembrandt work was gone.

Authorities declined to speculate if the attention-hog was an accomplice of the thief, but they were studying surveillance footage from the hotel for clues.

“This appears to be a well-thought, well-planned, well-executed theft,” Los Angeles County Sheriff spokesman Steve Whitmore said. But apparently not well-planned enough to get away with.

Nick Carbone is a reporter at TIME. Find him on Twitter at @nickcarbone. You can also continue the discussion on TIME’s Facebook page and on Twitter at @TIME.

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