3rd Man Charged in Oscar Theft

From a Times staff writer

The brother of the man who received a $50,000 reward for finding 52 of 55 stolen Oscars earlier this year was charged Monday in connection with the theft of the statuettes.

John Willie Harris, 54, of South Los Angeles was charged with one count each of receiving stolen property and accessory after the fact to grand theft, the district attorney’s office said. Harris, the third person charged in this incident, was arrested Thursday and released Saturday. His next court appearance is Nov. 8.

Harris’ brother, Willie Fulgear, 61, said he found the Oscars while salvaging for junk in a Koreatown trash bin near his home on March 18, shortly after the statues were reported missing.

Police said the statuettes disappeared from a Roadway Transportation Co. loading dock after arriving at the company’s Eastern Avenue headquarters from Chicago. Fulgear received the reward money and a ticket to the Academy Awards ceremony. The other three Oscars have not been found.


On March 21, Roadway truck driver Lawrence Ledent, 38, of Los Angeles was charged with grand theft. He pleaded no contest in July and was sentenced to six months in jail, five years’ probation and ordered to pay $51,000 to Roadway--$50,000 for the reward that Roadway Express paid for the missing statuettes and $1,000 for three Oscars that are still missing.

Another Roadway employee, Anthony Hart, 38, of La Puente was charged in August with one count of grand theft in connection with the case. He is awaiting trial.