Corktown Art Heist May Have Been Inside Job

May 25, 2012, 9:40 PM by  Allan Lengel

The mysterious multi-million dollar art heist from a non-descript office building in Corktown  -- that included the theft of an Andy Warhol silkscreen -- may have been an inside job, according to a law enforcement report obtained by Deadline Detroit.

The report lists a 47-year-old building employee with an extensive criminal record as a suspect, and indicated there was no forced entry to the building over the weekend of April 28, when the 19 contemporary artworks vanished.

Scott Griffin, 40, the owner of the artwork and the office building at 2051 Rosa Parks, just south of Michigan Avenue near the site of  Tiger Stadium, has been attempting to reach the employee, the report said.

A law enforcement source confirmed Friday that the FBI and Detroit Police were looking into a possible inside job and no arrests had been made. Griffin, when reached by phone Friday evening, declined to talk to Deadline Detroit. 

Griffin, who had recently moved to Detroit from New York, had been keeping his artwork in a storage area in the non-descript office building.

He discovered the paintings missing Monday, April 30, when he came into his office and noticed that his art collection, which was being stored in an adjoining room, was missing. There appeared to be no sign of forced entry, the report said.

Griffin then walked around the office building and storage area and noticed that several doors, which had been closed when he left on Saturday, appeared to have been opened with a key. A Segway motorized scooter was also missing.

He then went to another area of the warehouse inside the building and saw that a door was hanging off the hinges.

The report indicates that Griffin’s employee had keys to the building but recently had them taken away. Griffin later discovered that a master key was missing from the employee’s key ring. It’s unclear the person’s employment status at the time of the theft.

Griffin came to Detroit with the means and drive to make a difference. The former theater producer-turned-real estate investor and his business partner, Angel Gambino, purchased the building  for $270,000 last September, according to  Crain’s Detroit Business.

The building, which is under renovation, is home to several tenants including Detroit offices for the Huffington Post and Curbed, a web site that covers real estate.

Griffin also remains a principle in the New York City event hosting company Ramscale Productions, Inc. and reportedly lived in the famous Chelsea Hotel, the legendary Manhattan landmark long-associated with Warhol, his work, and his entourage. Among the Chelsea’s former tenants were “Warhol superstars” Edie Sedgwick and Nico, who also performed with the Velvet Underground.

In February, Griffin also purchased the bright blue geodesic homes located on W. Vernor behind the vacant Michigan Central Station.

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