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.
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.
“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.
The artwork is worth more than $100,000.
West pleaded guilty to theft from an at-risk adult.
“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.”
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.