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2 Sought in Robbery of Tarzana Art Gallery

Los Angeles police are seeking two men who bound and gagged three employees of a Tarzana art gallery and took paintings and lithographs valued at $200,000.

The pair, one of whom had a handgun, entered Visual Environments on the 19500 block of Ventura Boulevard shortly before 1 p.m. Wednesday, Detective Robert Johansen said. The owner and his wife, who were not identified, were tied up, as was a bookkeeper who arrived during the 25-minute robbery, Johansen said. No one was injured, he said.

The men ransacked the gallery, taking items with expensive price tags, including paintings by Salvador Dali, Johansen said. But they left some of the most valuable art pieces, which did not have marked prices, the detective said.

The two men packed the stolen artwork in the owner’s van behind the gallery and drove off, he said. The van has not been recovered.

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The men also took $4,000 in cash and jewelry from the gallery staff, who managed to free themselves and call police, Johansen said.

Johansen said the owner reported that the two men had visited the gallery earlier Wednesday. They apparently had an accomplice serving as a lookout outside, because the owner and his wife overheard a two-way radio conversation discussing the possibility that a customer tried to enter the shop during the robbery.

Police said Friday that they have asked Los Angeles area art galleries to watch for stolen merchandise.


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