Rare items stolen from Rancho Santa Fe home may help lead to arrest of the thieves

By Joe Tash

Police are hoping that the rarity of jewelry, paintings and sculpture — together worth more than $5 million — stolen in a June residential burglary in Rancho Santa Fe will lead to the recovery of the items and arrest of the thieves.

As of presstime on Tuesday, Aug. 13, the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department had not reported any breakthroughs in the case. Information about the burglary, which occurred the night of June 17, was released by the department last week.

“This case is unique, a lot of these sculptures and pieces of art are one-of-a-kind, it adds to their value and it adds a uniqueness to the items, hopefully making it easier to track down if someone shows up trying to sell those items,” said Sheriff’s Det. Brett Garrett.

As part of their investigation, detectives are notifying art dealers and monitoring auctions — both physical and online — where such items might be sold, Garrett said.

Among the stolen items were 11 paintings by various artists, including prints of works by Monet and Pissarro, and an oil painting by Jose Maria Velasco titled “El Valle de Mexico.” The paintings were worth a combined $1 million.

Also stolen were four elaborate necklace and bracelet sets made of gold and embedded with precious and semi-precious stones, including tourmalines, diamonds, cabochons and citrines. Each set was valued at $100,000.

The thieves also took Chinese sculptures, as well as sculptures by Canadian-born artist Andreas von Zadora-Gerlof, known for his watches and other fanciful art works. A “Four Seasons” clock made by Zadora was among the items stolen. In all, 20 sculptures worth more than $3 million were stolen.

Garrett said the home was unoccupied at the time of the burglary, and the incident does not appear to be related to any other local burglaries. The department has not released any additional information about the crime, and no suspect information has been provided.

A $1,000 reward for information leading to an arrest in this case is being offered by Crime Stoppers.

The number to call with information is 888-580-8477, or anonymous email and texts can be sent to

Photos of some of the stolen items can be found on the Crime Stoppers website.