Artifacts stolen from Cabazon museum recovered

Fourteen out of 17 items that were stolen from the museum operated by the Cabazon Band of Mission Indians of California were finally returned to their rightful owners.

Thieves broke into the tribe's Cultural Museum in January 2005 and stole nine pieces of Hopi, Zuni and Pueblo pottery and eight Cahuilla baskets. An investigation led to the successful prosecution of one suspect involved in the crime.

"He was trying to sell between $140,000 and $160,000 worth of artifacts for $4,000 to feed a methamphetamine addiction," retired FBI agent Joseph Stuart said of the defendant, who was sentenced to 41 months in federal prison.

Jane Andrade, whose family loaned the pottery to the museum, said she was glad they were returned. The baskets are owned by the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians and others.

Three items have not been recovered.

Get the Story:
FBI returns stolen American Indian artifacts to their owners (The Los Angeles 6/14)
American Indian artifacts saved from black market (The Palm Springs Desert Sun 6/14)
Artifacts stolen from Indio museum returned to owners (The Riverside Press-Enterprise 6/14)

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FBI has no leads on theft from Cabazon museum (2/23)
FBI, Cabazon Band investigate theft of artifacts (01/20)