A notarized letter granting a son permission to take his father’s artwork valued at more than $20 million could play a major role in a criminal case.
Alfonso Frank Frazetta, known as Frank Jr., was arrested on Dec. 10 and charged with burglary, criminal trespass and theft after police discovered he had broken into the Frazetta Museum in Marshalls Creek, Pa. and removed about 90 paintings valued at more than $20 million.
The artwork was part of the Frank Frazetta collection. Frazetta, 81, is best known for his fantasy illustrations and paintings.
Frank Jr. told police he had his father’s permission to remove the paintings. But when police called Frazetta in Florida to confirm the story, Frazetta denied giving his son the authority to take the paintings.
The fireproof museum located in the heart of the Poconos is equipped with burglar alarms, smoke detectors and an outside gate. Frank Jr. used a backhoe to break down the door of the museum.
According to Frank Jr.’s wife, Lori, he was taking the paintings to a secure location for safe storage. The couple believes Frank Jr.’s siblings are trying to take over Frazetta’s property worth at least $100 million. Lori Frazetta claims the artist suffers from dementia. An attorney representing Frazetta said the artist is mentally competent.
During Frank Jr.’s bail hearing, a woman came forward saying she notarized Frazetta’s signature on a document that gave Frank Jr. permission to secure the artwork “by any means necessary.”
An attorney representing Frank Jr. told the Pocono Record that if his client thoguht his father had given him the authority to secure the artwork, it would be difficult to convict him on the theft charge. Without the theft charge, prosecutors would not be able to sustain the burglary charge because “burglary requires the intent to enter a property to commit a crime.”
The police are now in possession of the notarized letter. The artwork taken by Frank Jr. has been relocated to a safe storage facility.
Frank Jr.’s bail was orignially set at $500,000, but was reduced to $50,000. He has been released from jail. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Jan. 6.