A Rembrandt drawing valued at $250,000 was stolen Saturday night from a private art exhibit at a Ritz-Carlton in Southern California, in what law enforcement officials are calling "a well-thought-out, well-executed theft."
The pen-and-ink drawing, reportedly titled "The Judgement," was swiped while a curator was distracted by a diversion at The Ritz-Carlton, Marina del Rey, The Los Angeles Times reports.
The work vanished between 10:20 p.m. and 10:35 p.m.
"When the curator turned back to the Rembrandt, it was gone," Los Angeles County Sheriff's spokesman Steve Whitmore told the Associated Press.
Whitmore said that investigators are reviewing security footage for clues.
According to The Los Angeles Times, the small drawing — it is only 11-by-6 inches — was being displayed in the hotel's lobby as part of an exhibition by the Linearis Institute.
A hotel patron told NBC News that the works of several famous artists, including Pablo Picasso, were also on display in one of the hotel's hallways.
Thieves have made off with Rembrandts before. Two works by the 17th century Dutch master were among those famously taken from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston on March 18, 1990, when thieves posing as police officers made off with 13 pieces worth hundreds of millions of dollars. Among the works taken was Rembrandt's only known seascape, "The Storm on the Sea of Galilee."
On September 4, 1972, thieves used a skylight to break into the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, bound and gagged three museum guards, and took a number of works including a Rembrandt landscape worth an estimated $1 million, according to the CBC.