Art heist mystery unravels in Houston, suspect arrested

Gallery reports 18 antique Chinese ivory Buddhist Lohans stolen

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Stolen art in Houston

HOUSTON - It sounds like the plot of a movie, but federal investigators say a pretty high-profile art heist happened in Houston this week.

A local gallery reported 18 antique Chinese ivory Buddhist Lohans from the Qing Dynasty stolen on Monday. They are valued at $30,000.

Investigators tracked the stolen art to a high-end consignment shop, where the figurines were later sold for more than $8,000 to a Houston-based auction house.

HSI special agents on Wednesday met with the auction house representatives and seized the statues.

The ivory statues are now in the care and custody of the Harris County District Attorney's Office.

The suspected thief, 57-year-old Patricia DiCoste, was arrested Friday by special agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), and officers with Harris County District Attorney's Office, and Bellaire Police Department.

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