Skip to comments.Rikers: Hello Dali thieves! Four busted
Posted on 06/18/2003 7:57:11 PM PDT by I still care
It was hardly the perfect crime: A Salvador Dali stolen under cover of a midnight fire drill at Rikers Island, then masked with a shoddy forgery stapled to the wall. Although the $250,000 sketch of Jesus Christ on the cross is still missing, authorities say they've got the thieves who took it off a Rikers lobby wall March 1: four veteran correction officers.
"This alleged crime is the result of shameless arrogance fueled by greed," said Bronx District Attorney Robert Johnson, announcing the arrests at a press conference with Investigation Department Commissioner Rose Gill Hearn.
Capping a probe first reported by the Daily News five days after the theft, Johnson announced the arrests of Assistant Deputy Wardens Benny Nuzzo, 49, and Mitchell Hochhauser, 40, and Correction Officers Timothy Pina, 44, and Greg Sokol, 38.
During the arraignment in Bronx Supreme Court yesterday, Assistant District Attorney Wanda Perez told Justice John Byrne that Sokol is cooperating with the district attorney's office against his three colleagues.
She also said the four men have been recorded in audiotaped conversations about how they "might get away with it."
Perez charged that Hochhauser ordered the bogus fire drill while the others removed the artwork from a locked display case and stashed it in Nuzzo's car.
The four pleaded not guilty yesterday and were suspended from the Correction Department. If convicted, they each face up to 15 years in prison.
Dali sketched the piece in 1965, after canceling a visit to the jail.
You would think someone working at Rikers would be convinced breaking the law is a bad idea. I mean, who would want to risk seeing those bars from the other side?