An upstate New York man stole paintings from an artist who was a longtime assistant of Andy Warhol's after finding him dead in his home earlier this year, according to state investigators.
Hiram Noel Mendez of Cortlandt Manor discovered Ronnie Cutrone dead his home in Lake Peekskill in July while going to check on the 65-year-old artist. State investigators say Mendez left and came back to take several pieces of artwork before calling 911 several hours later.
Cutrone’s death itself isn’t considered suspicious pending toxicology tests, investigators say.
According to the man’s New York Times obituary, he made “unusual and highly personal contributions” to Warhol's canvases as the pop artist's assistant. Cartoon characters painted onto national flags were among Cutrone’s best-known works.
Police arrested Mendez Tuesday on burglary, larceny and obstruction charges after a five-month investigation into the missing artwork. Some of the pieces were been recovered, but several works are still missing.
Mendez, 35, is being held at the Putnam County Jail in lieu of $25,000 bail. It is not known if he has an attorney.