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Police: NY man charged with looting art after finding artist dead in home, calling 911 later

A New York man who went to check on an acquaintance and found him dead at his home is accused of stealing some of the man's artwork before calling 911.

State police say Hiram Noel Mendez of Cortlandt Manor found Ronald Cutrone dead at his Lake Peekskill home in July. They say Cutrone's death isn't considered suspicious, but the cause of death hasn't been determined pending toxicology results.

Police say Cutrone was an artist and onetime assistant to Andy Warhol. His best-known pieces involve cartoon characters.

Authorities say a nearly five-month investigation found that Mendez left Cutrone's home and then returned and stole several of Cutrone's works before calling 911.

Police say only a fraction of the pieces has been recovered.

Mendez was arraigned Tuesday on burglary, petty larceny and other charges.

Information on his lawyer wasn't immediately available.

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