Brooklyn art gallery owner chases down thief

Lisa Colagrossi reports on the arrest of a brazen art thief and the search for two others
March 5, 2014 4:48:46 AM PST
A Brooklyn art gallery owner chased a thief through the streets in an effort to get back his work of art, and the incident was caught on camera.

Surveillance shows one of three suspects with a painting stolen from a storage area of the Cotton Candy Machine gallery in Williamsburg Saturday night. The gallery was hosting an exhibit featuring the works of British artist Amar Stewart.

A second video shows the same suspect being chased by gallery co-owner Sean Leonard.

Leonard got back the 5-foot painting of Jean-Michel Basquiat worth more than $10,000, and then ran with the artwork as he chased the alleged thief and helped police track him down.

"He runs, so I grab the painting and chase him," Leonard said. "Because I'm not going to leave a $10,000 painting on the street. So I chase him, and he runs and jumps in a cab. So I run up to the cab and I pull the cab door open, and I'm yelling at the cab driver while I'm on with 911, and I'm like, 'You can't take this guy anywhere.'"

The suspect, 49-year-old Louis Lassalle, is in custody, but his two accomplices are still on the run.

The gallery is still missing two of the three paintings taken by thieves, canvasses of Nelson Mandela and Snoop Dogg estimated to be worth $8,000 each.

Anyone with information is asked to call police.