Artist Allegedly Steals $300,000 in Art from an Abandoned San Francisco Mansion
He claims to have been exercising squatter's rights.
A squatter has been arrested for allegedly stealing 11 paintings from an abandoned San Francisco mansion.
Jeremiah Kaylor, described by the San Francisco Chronicle as a “vagabond artist,” claims to have been exercising squatter’s rights at the Koshland House, a three-story eight-bedroom home built in 1904 as a copy of Petit Trianon, a 1774 Versailles chateau built for Marie-Antoinette.
Police discovered Kaylor on the property late Saturday night when responding to reports of a suspicious person on the grounds. “He produced some type of documents saying that he was going to be the owner or proprietor to this house,” San Francisco police officer Carlos Manfredi told ABC News.
On Sunday, the real estate agent for the property reportedly performed a citizen’s arrest while waiting for the police to return.
In 2007, Halsey Minor, founder of CNET, had purchased the property for $22 million. According to Business Insider, Minor sold his company to CBS for $1.8 billion in 2008, but was bankrupt by 2013, “most likely due to his expensive taste in real estate, art, and horses.”
The city officially considers the dilapidated property abandoned. It was initially listed for $25 million in 2012, but the price has since dropped to $17 million and again to $12.5 million, according to SF Curbed.
“It was super moldy and honestly kind of falling apart, but you could tell that it had been amazing,” Kaylor told the Chronicle of the main building. The well-stocked guest house, however, was another story. Over time, Kaylor sold a premium stereo system, a Viking stove, chandeliers, books, and numerous paintings. It is unclear who owns the looted artwork, worth over $300,000.
Kaylor allegedly pawned the paintings for far below their real market value. He has been squatting at the property on and off since the summer of 2014, allegedly using the proceeds of the sales to fund his travels, including a trip to Burning Man, according to the Chronicle.
A year prior, Kaylor gave a presentation on “Burning Man culture and its role in consciousness evolution and it’s [sic] effect on the 2016 Presidential elections” at a local community center.
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