Philadelphia man must pay Ali museum $5K for stealing painting
Gerald Garrett pleaded guilty to Interstate Transportation of Stolen Property earlier this year and was sentenced last month in U.S. District Court in Pennsylvania.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – A Philadelphia man has been sentenced to eight months in prison and ordered to pay the Muhammad Ali Center $5,000 in restitution for stealing an iconic painting of Ali by artist Leroy Neiman off the wall last fall.
Gerald Garrett pleaded guilty to Interstate Transportation of Stolen Property earlier this year and was sentenced last month in U.S. District Court in Pennsylvania. Once released from prison, Garrett will be on supervised release for three years, according to court documents.
Garrett and five other men had toured the Muhammad Ali Center for about two hours on Oct. 22 when, as he was leaving, Garrett ripped the paining off the wall and put it under his hoodie, according to a police report.
Garrett, 59, showed the painting to the rest of the men in his group as they were waiting for him outside, according to court records.
The theft was captured on video and Garrett was identified to authorities by at least some of the men he was with, according to the records.
None of the other men have been charged. The painting has not been located. It was valued at $5,000.
Garrett claims he was “hearing hallucinatory voices at the time” he stole the painting, according to federal court records. He suffers from depression and schizophrenia and had not been taking his medication, prosecutors wrote.
While he admitted to the theft, he “did so too late for the recovery of the print,” according to the records.
Garrett told officials he planned to return the painting but instead took it to a post office in Alexandria, Va., and it has not been found.
“As a direct result of Garrett’s actions … this piece of cultural heritage, created and signed by an artist now deceased, is gone from the Muhammad Ali Center,” federal prosecutors wrote.
Jeanie Kahnke, spokeswoman for the Muhammad Ali Center, said they were not aware of the plea agreement or restitution.
Sixty-four signed prints brushed in Neiman's one-of-a-kind watercolor styling hang in the Muhammad Ali Center's gallery.
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