Suspected Art Thieves arrested in Kapolei

Jeff Liu
Jeff Liu

By Minna Sugimoto

KAPOLEI (KHNL) -- They're accused of stealing more than $50,000 worth of artwork from their own boss. But now, the couple featured on Crimestoppers last week is under arrest.

The hunt for two suspected art thieves brings police to a quiet cul-de-sac in Kapolei.

"I was a little surprised because I thought they already out of town, they're no longer here," Jeff Liu, gallery owner, said.

Jeff Liu is the owner of Island Art Gallery at Aloha Tower Marketplace. Recently, eight pieces -- including several original oil paintings -- vanished, along with gallery employees Francis Blackwell and Ann Taylor.

Liu says a woman who lives in a home on Makahaiwaa Place let the couple stay there while she was out of the country. When she returned, she learned about the theft case and called police.

"She was very surprised because, apparently, she know them for a few years," Liu said. "They were friends. I guess, just like us, she really trusted them."

She told Liu she even loaned the pair money.

"They had a promissory note for her for some money, but the note expired," Liu said. "So they gave her a painting."

Investigators are still trying to track down the missing artwork. But folks at the gallery believe the arrests will help.

"I'm very happy this happen, that at least there's some hope," Liu said.

Blackwell is at the main police cellblock awaiting charges. Officers released Taylor pending further investigation.