Undercover Sting Led To Arrest Of High Profile Artist’s Caregiver

By Jeff Todd

WESTMINSTER, Colo. (CBS4) – A former caretaker of a well-known artist will now spend up to 10 years in prison for stealing hundreds of pieces of art.

“The commercial value for this art is significant. The work is just absolutely remarkable,” said First Judicial District Attorney Pete Weir.

jeffco art theft 10pkg transfer Undercover Sting Led To Arrest Of High Profile Artists Caregiver

(credit: Jefferson County District Attorney’s Office)

Dee Toscano became known for paintings of Native Americans and sculptures. One sculpture is even on display at the Westminster City Hall.

The investigation began when another caregiver of Toscano’s told her son that some art had gone missing. Wheat Ridge police set up an undercover buy from Shawn West, who is accused of stealing more than 600 pieces of artwork from Toscano.

jeffco art theft 10pkg tra45664nsfer Undercover Sting Led To Arrest Of High Profile Artists Caregiver

Shawn West with an undercover officer (credit: Jefferson County District Attorney’s Office)

“She takes prints, paintings, sculptures Mrs. Toscano has done and sells them. She took full advantage of the fact this was a caring talented 84-year-old woman who could not fend for herself,” Weir said.

jeffco art theft 10pkg 65785678transfer Undercover Sting Led To Arrest Of High Profile Artists Caregiver

CBS4’s Jeff Todd interviews First Judicial District Attorney Pete Weir (credit: CBS)

The artwork is worth more than $100,000.

West pleaded guilty to theft from an at-risk adult.

jeffco art theft 10pkg tra6585678nsfer Undercover Sting Led To Arrest Of High Profile Artists Caregiver

(credit: Jefferson County District Attorney’s Office)

“Family members, friends, people that care about our older citizens need to stay involved,” Weir said. “They need to help them watch the caregivers, make sure these really are people with good intentions. We’ve got to do it with our eyes wide open.”

shawn west Undercover Sting Led To Arrest Of High Profile Artists Caregiver

Shawn West (credit: Wheat Ridge Police)

Jeff Todd joined the CBS4 team in 2011 covering the Western Slope in the Mountain Newsroom. Since 2015 he’s been working across the Front Range in the Denver Headquarters. Follow him on Twitter @CBS4Jeff.

Comments

One Comment

  1. Gene Abner says:

    Sad people have to steal form old people and take advantage of them. Shame

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