Authorities arrest Penn. man accused of theft of artwork from Mu - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Authorities arrest Penn. man accused of theft of artwork from Muhammad Ali Center

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A Pennsylvania man indicted in connection with the theft of artwork from the Muhammad Ali Center has been arrested. 

According to Louisville Metro Police, 58-year-old Gerald Kenneth Garrett was arrested in Philadelphia Wednesday morning. LMPD says it is not immediately clear if the stolen artwork was recovered.

A Jefferson County grand jury indicted Garrett last month on a charge of theft by unlawful taking in an amount over $500, but less than $10,000.

A warrant had been issued for his arrest. 

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, in October. "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.

"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."

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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