NEW YORK – A trucker was charged Monday with stealing a $1.5 million painting from a warehouse at John F. Kennedy International Airport (search).
Anthony Porcelli Jr., 35, surrendered to authorities at the airport and was charged with grand larceny and possession of stolen property in the May 4 theft of the painting by the artist Jean-Michel Basquiat.
Porcelli was accused of removing a wooden crate containing the painting from a warehouse and driving away with it. He could face up to 25 years in prison if convicted, District Attorney Richard Brown (search) in a statement.
The untitled acrylic-and-oil painting was sold for more than $1.5 million in November at Christie's auction house in New York and was to be shipped to the buyer in Rome.
Police identified Porcelli after reviewing video surveillance tapes of the warehouse. The painting was found at a trucking company's warehouse in Elizabeth, N.J. Porcelli was a driver for the company, authorities said.
A telephone message left Monday with the attorney prosecutors said was representing Porcelli was not immediately returned.
Basquiat, a darling of art critics who was praised for his strong use of color and the social commentary in his work, died in 1988 at age 27 of a heroin overdose.