Pennsylvania man indicted for theft of artwork from Muhammad Ali - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Pennsylvania man indicted for theft of artwork from Muhammad Ali Center

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A Jefferson County grand jury has indicted a man in connection with the theft of artwork from the Muhammad Ali Center.

According to court documents, 58-year-old Gerald Kenneth Garrett was indicted Tuesday afternoon on a charge of theft by unlawful taking in an amount over $500, but less than $10,000.

Jeff Cooke, spokesperson for the Commonwealth Attorney's Office, says Garrett, a Pennsylvania resident, is not in custody at this time. A warrant has been issued for his arrest in the amount of $10,000 -- meaning that if he is arrested, it will cost $10,000 to post bond.

Garrett's arraignment is scheduled for Monday afternoon.

The theft on Oct. 22 was a punch to the gut for the home built to honor Louisville's Muhammad Ali. Authorities say Garrett stole an iconic painting of Ali by artist Leroy Neiman.

"As you can see, Muhammad and Mr. Neiman were friends," said Jeanie Kahnke, spokesperson for the Muhammad Ali Center, last month. "They'd known each other -- I believe -- since the 60's."

"Mr. Neiman started covering some of Muhammad's fights, and you can see how he would do a sketch around him," Kahnke said.

Sixty-four signed prints brushed in Neiman's one-of-a-kind watercolor styling hung proudly in the Muhammad Ali Center's gallery. 

That is, until prosecutors say Garrett delivered a knockout blow last month.

"So close to Muhammad's passing -- to take something from the Ali Center, the place that represents and preserves his legacy, is just very sad," Kahnke said. 

"I'm appalled," said Louisville Metro Police Detective Matt Montfort shortly after the theft. "I think everybody would be appalled by this. He's kind of a national treasure."

Cooke said investigators have not yet recovered the artwork. Prosecutors say they are not sure if Garrett was the only one involved in the theft, or if there were accomplices.

This is the first time in the history of the Ali Center that a piece has been stolen. If you have any information you are asked to call (502) 574-LMPD.

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