LOS ANGELES – Police did not violate the rights of a loading dock worker when they arrested him in connection with the theft of 55 Oscar statuettes just before the 2000 Academy Awards, a federal appeals panel ruled.
Anthony Hart formerly worked at the loading docks of Roadway Express in Bell, where 55 Oscars disappeared just weeks before the awards ceremony.
He claimed in a civil rights lawsuit that his two arrests -- in March and August 2000 -- were unconstitutional because he was arrested in his home without a warrant and without probable cause.
But the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel determined Monday that Hart was arrested just outside his house and that detectives had enough evidence to suspect him. Hart later pleaded no contest to a charge of receiving stolen property.
The evidence included anonymous tips, Hart's prior conviction for theft, and his ties to a man who tried to collect a reward for the statuettes, the panel wrote.
Of the 55 missing statuettes, 52 were recovered a week before the awards ceremony. By then, organizers had ordered replacements, which were handed out the following year. Three of the missing statuettes were never found.