Sheriff suspends investigation into CA art thefts

Sheriff's officials ended their two-year investigation into two men's report that their collection of works by Jackson Pollock, Vincent van Gogh, Rembrandt and others was stolen from their Pebble Beach home.

The probe led to no arrests in the mysterious heist, no recovery of the prized artwork, and at one point aroused suspicion about Dr. Ralph Kennaugh and Angelo Amadio.

Shortly after the pair reported the artworks missing, investigators said they questioned the veracity of Kennaugh and Amadio's claim and named them as suspects.

However, no evidence of fraud has been found in the sheriff's investigation, the Monterey Herald reported Wednesday ( ).

"Though numerous interviews were conducted, nothing substantial was developed which would lead me to a specific suspect(s)," Detective R. Jorgenson wrote in an email to an attorney for Kennaugh and Amadio.

"Pairing that with the lack of physical evidence, I have concluded my investigation into Mr. Amadio and Mr. Kennaugh's burglary and have suspended the case pending any new developments," it said.

Kennaugh, a retired Harvard Medical School physician, and his business partner, Amadio, said 19 high-value works were taken during the Sept. 25, 2009, burglary. An untitled Pollock has received the most attention because it has been speculated to be worth up to $40 million.

Sheriff's officials initially expressed frustration, saying the men had not been forthcoming with investigators and had not provided documents proving the works existed or were ever in their possession.

Kennaugh and Amadio remain locked in a legal fight with their insurance company, which rejected their loss claim based on "concealment or fraud," according to court documents. Last year, the men filed a lawsuit against Farmers Insurance Group, seeking the policy limit of $500,000 as well as damages for emotional distress and $1.5 million in punitive damages.

Kennaugh told the Herald that he's satisfied with the sheriff's department's work on the case and also relieved he's no longer a fraud suspect.

"It's just great that part's over with," he said. "It's excellent news. But we still do not know who took the artwork."

A $5 million reward still is being offered for information leading to the art's recovery, and a list of the works has been sent to the FBI's art theft database, Kennaugh said.


Information from: The Monterey County Herald,