“Priceless” Picasso Stolen By Evicted Tenant Was a Fake

Mugshots for Todd Rose, Charles Douglas Jr., and Timothy Marsh. Photo: via the <em>Daily Courier</em>.

A supposed Pablo Picasso worth “millions” was recently the heart of a bizarre dispute between a landlord and tenant in Prescott, Arizona. If this sounds improbable, well, it turns out it was: the unfortunate conflict—which involved a bomb threat and meth, as well as the kidnapped Picasso—came to an anticlimactic end when it was revealed that the work in question was actually a water-damaged copied lithograph worth less than $1,000.

Here’s what went down: Todd Rose, age 53, has been ordered to vacate his home, but when owners went to kick him out, they found that the locks had been changed. Police arrived on the scene and found, according to a report, “many doors that were secured by screws that attached the door to the door frame so no one could enter from the outside,” as well as at least one “possible bomb device” on a door. Further investigation revealed that there were no explosive devices in the apartment.

Also not in the apartment: The owners’ multi-million-dollar Picasso painting, which they had incautiously left as decoration for the rental.

Two friends of Rose’s, Charles Douglas Jr. (18) and Timothy Marsh (50), were arrested at the house in connection with the dispute. Douglas, who claimed to be helping Rose move, was inside the apartment when police first entered, and Marsh soon arrived at the apartment with a moving truck. Police conducted a search of the vehicle and discovered a glass pipe that tested positive for traces of methamphetamine.

As for Rose himself, he was located, and arrested, at an area storage unit. He claimed that he had barricaded the doors of the apartment “to keep people out.” As for the Picasso, he said that he was storing it in a separate facility “so it was safe and would not get stolen.” The work was later recovered—though the owners’ claims of its extravagant value were quickly proven to be completely fabricated.

Although the purported Picasso was fake, lieutenant Ken Morley told the Courier that the police would file “no charges related to the reporting person making a false claim because we can’t prove what they really thought.”

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