The Portland Museum of Art, Portland police and the FBI on Thursday announced the recovery of the remaining two of six N.C. Wyeth paintings stolen from Portland landlord Joseph Soley in 2013.

The two paintings, “Go Dutton, and that right speedily” and “The Encounter on Freshwater Cliff,” were stolen from a Portland apartment. They were recovered Oct. 9 and a third party turned then over to retired Boston FBI agent Jim Siracusa.

“Both paintings were found in good condition, inside cardboard boxes, and in their original frames,” the FBI said in a statement.

No further arrests have been made and no reward money has been distributed; however, the FBI said the investigation into the thefts is ongoing.

Now, the six paintings stolen will be the subject of a special exhibit by the Pottland Museum of Art, “The Great N.C. Wyeth Caper: paintings by America’s Stoyteller.”

The FBI offered a $20,000 reward a month after a New Hampshire man was convicted of illegally transporting the four other N.C. Wyeth paintings stolen from Soley at the same time. Two other men also have been convicted of possessing those stolen works.

N.C. Wyeth is the father of Andrew Wyeth, one of the best-known American artists of the mid-20th century, and the grandfather of Jamie Wyeth, a critically acclaimed artist who frequently paints scenes of the Maine coast.

Soley said he got to know the Wyeths, particularly Andrew Wyeth, when he owned a summer home in Camden and the Wyeths lived nearby. The paintings had been stolen from an unoccupied apartment at 18 Monument Square in Portland. The theft was discovered on May 7, 2013, when a Soley family member went to the apartment.

The FBI said the theft was probably the most significant art heist in Maine history based on the value of the paintings, which is in the “tens of millions of dollars” and justified the bureau putting up the reward money.

Museum staff said Thursday that the announcement dealt with developments in the case of the stolen art in addition to developments the museum would be announcing.

Lawrence Estrella, 65, of Manchester, New Hampshire, pleaded guilty July 14 to transporting stolen property across state lines and was sentenced to seven years and eight months for transporting four of the six Wyeth paintings stolen from Soley’s downtown apartment.

“I think it’s great news for everyone, Mr. Estrella, Mr. Soley and the art community,” said Portland attorney David Beneman of Thursday’s announcement. Beneman represented Estrella in federal court in New Hampshire. He said today’s announcement is unrelated to his client.

“The state never alleged Mr. Estrella was involved in these other two” paintings, Beneman said.

Estrella pleaded guilty to one count of interstate transportation of stolen property, a felony. He has a lengthy criminal history that includes robberies and breaking and entering,

On Nov. 23, 2014, police located Estrella’s green Mercedes in the parking lot of a Comfort Inn in North Hollywood, California, and began surveillance of Estrella, court records said. Less than a month later, on Dec. 19, 2014, police recovered four of the six stolen paintings from a pawnshop in Beverly Hills.

Also implicated in the criminal case was aspiring rapper Oscar Roberts, 37, of Los Angeles, who was sentenced to 28 months in federal prison for pledging stolen property as security for a loan.

Roberts took the paintings to the Dina Collection, a Beverly Hills pawnshop that’s featured on “Beverly Hills Pawn” on the Reelz network, for a $100,000 loan.

Dina Collection owner Yossi Dina called police after suspecting they were stolen.

A third man, Dean Coroniti, of North Hollywood, California, also pleaded guilty to possessing stolen artwork.

This story will be updated.


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