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Caregiver Charged With Theft Of 600+ Pieces Of Art

WHEAT RIDGE, Colo. (CBS4) - Police in Wheat Ridge arrested a caregiver accused of stealing more than 600 pieces of art from the woman she was supposed to be caring for.

shawn west
Shawn West (credit: Wheat Ridge Police)

Detectives say Shawn West stole hundreds of pieces of art from Dee Toscano's home in Wheat Ridge and then sold it online. The victim's family told CBS4 West, 51, was being paid to care for Toscano at her home.

In the 1970s and 1980s Toscano's artwork was widely revered and won awards. Her specialty was depictions of Native Americans and the Southwest.

According to investigators, both originals and prints of paintings and charcoal drawings had been stolen as well as jewelry and a sculpture, all valued at more than $100,000.

"We did an undercover operation where we purchased, I believe, 16 items from the suspect in the case and so we recovered those at that time," said Wheat Ridge officer Kyle Eversole, a detective.

Later, detectives recovered an additional 66 items from West's home in Aurora. The hundreds of other items that were stolen were apparently sold.

West remains in custody at the Jefferson County Jail since her arrest.

The case was triggered when another careworker who works for the victim reported seeing emails that showed West was selling the art. That happened approximately a month ago.

Wheat Ridge police are now working to try to get the art that was stolen back to Toscano's family.

"That's always our intent is to try to recover all items. In this case, I don't know if that will be possible," Eversole said.

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