Deputies from the L.A. County Sheriff's office have recovered the Rembrandt pen-and-ink drawing that was stolen from a California hotel this weekend in the pastor's office of an Episcopal church in Encino, according to the Los Angeles Times. Authorities found the missing artwork Monday night after receiving a tip from someone who claimed to have seen the sketch, which is called "The Judgement" and valued at $250,000, on church property.
An official said Tuesday that authorities believe the thief placed the stolen artwork in Reverend Mike Cooper's office after entering through a open door that was left open. "Obviously, the pastor isn't a suspect," L.A. County Sheriff's Department Steve Whitmore told reporters Tuesday. "Someone left it there."
With the pastor ruled out as a suspect, the investigation can turn back to the heist itself, specifically how the thieves could steal a valuable piece of art out from stellar security in a public place with just a 15-minute window of opportunity.