Man sold stolen art taken from Deerfield storage unit with help from employee: feds

A 53-year-old Indiana man is accused of stealing art from a storage facility in north suburban Deerfield and reselling it for thousands of dollars between February and May.

John Garcia allegedly worked with another person to steal about 159 pieces of art, antiques and collectibles from a storage unit in Deerfield, according to a criminal complaint filed by federal prosecutors.

During the heist, Garcia used a grinder tool to break into the lock and had an employee of the storage facility acted as a lookout, prosecutors said.

The pair kept the stolen items at a storage facility in Orland Park and a home in Highland Park, prosecutors said. A jewelry store owner in Lansing and an auction house owner purchased about $143,000 worth of stolen items April 29 and May 23. Garcia allegedly told them they belonged to his girlfriend and her father.

The owner of the stolen goods noticed the item were missing when they visited the storage facility May 11, prosecutors said. They told investigators they hadn’t allowed anyone to access the unit and that a padlock on one of the doors was changed or replaced.

A search of Garcia’s partner’s home in Highland Park and a storage facility in Orland Park revealed multiple stolen items, prosecutors said.

Garcia was charged with one count of wire fraud and is scheduled to appear in court for a detention hearing Thursday.