Source AP ©

Thief steals Pablo Picasso pictures receives 5 years probation

A mover who stole two drawings by Pablo Picasso from the apartment of a man who died without a will was sentenced to five years' probation Thursday.

Nahum "Nino" Kohen, 39, admitted he stole the drawings - one a black-and-white cubist sketch of a guitar and the other a similar sketch of a mandolin - from the home of art collector William Kingsland sometime after he died in March 2006.

Kohen was hired by the Manhattan public administrator, which handles the estates of people who die without wills or known relatives, to move Kingsland's belongings from his Upper East Side apartment to a city warehouse.

The administrator later reported that the Picassos, which it had photographed and inventoried, were missing from Kingsland's vast art collection. The art works were each about 12 inches by 12 inches (30 centimeters by 30 centimeters) and worth at least $60,000 (EUR42,313).

FBI agents learned in November that a Manhattan art broker had tried to sell one of the drawings to an auction house. The agents learned the broker had gotten the drawing from Ori Lellouch, Kohen's mother-in-law, and subsequently retrieved both Picassos from her.

Kohen, was arrested in January along with Lellouch, 57, as an accomplice. Both Queens residents were charged with second-degree grand larceny and faced up to 15 years in prison.

Kohen pleaded guilty Thursday to one count of third-degree grand larceny in exchange for a sentence of five years probation.

Prosecutor Jennifer Kushner said Kohen was allowed a plea deal because the Picassos were recovered undamaged and he had no arrest record.

Kushner said Lellouch is a fugitive after failing to appear for a Feb. 13 court date.

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