Brief: YPD likely to arrest Powell for sculpture theft later this week

Yale Police Department officers are poised to arrest a suspect in the theft of 10 sculptures, valued at over $18,000, stolen from the Marsh Botanical Gardens last November.

Jodonell Powell, 54, a longtime criminal with a record of 43 arrests since 1974, will likely be arrested this week for the theft of the sculptures by New Haven artist Susan Clinard, the New Haven Register reported Thursday. Clinard is the wife of molecular, cellular & developmental biology professor, Thierry Emonet.

Powell, who is currently being detained in the New Haven Correctional Center on a separate charge, will be charged for the theft of the sculptures on Tuesday or Wednesday of this week, Clinard said.

At the time of his original arrest, which was for larceny, Powell was in the possession of two stolen vehicles, one of which was the white van used to transport Clinard’s 10 sculptures, Clinard said. According to the New Haven Register, Powell came before a judge last Wednesday to answer charges of burglary and larceny of industrial equipment valued at over $14,000.

Richard Ortello, who purchased one of the sculptures from Powell the night after the burglary, came forward to the police after seeing the sculptures and drew a sketch of Powell to help identify him. Ortello said that from the sketch, police were able to narrow down the list of suspects, and Ortello selected Powell from a series of photographs compiled by investigators.

Police have recovered all but one of the 10 sculptures, although they have not yet returned the sculptures to Clinard. Ortello said the majority of the sculptures were returned by a relative of Powell’s, who discovered the sculptures were stolen and that the police believed Powell was responsible. Another sculpture was found behind a building on Starr Street, Ortello said.

A few of the sculptures had minimal damage, Clinard said, but most are “not salvageable.” Ortello said YPD officers told him that if Powell does not plead guilty to the burglary charges being brought against him this week, it may take six months for the sculptures to be returned to Clinard, who said she needs her sculptures back for an art show in France in March.

Clinard will display some of her pieces — none of the stolen work — at Atticus Bookstore and Cafe on Chapel Street beginning Friday. The formal opening of her show will take place in early February, Clinard said.

-Martine Powers

Comments