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Up to $180,000 in art, antiques stolen on West Side still missing

Paintings and antique home furnishings valued at as much as $180,000 that were stolen from a York Street address during the last two years remain missing, and Buffalo police are seeking the public's help.

The thefts occurred between July 2006 and Sept. 13, according to police. The victim, a Cheektowaga man who collects antiques, was alerted by Buffalo police that his West Side property had repeatedly been burglarized.

When the victim visited the address to check on his property last month, he discovered items missing valued at $190,000.

On Sept. 21, police arrested a West Utica Street man after he was found in possession of some of the stolen antiques valued at $10,000.

Jeffrey Weisberg, 60, the former owner of the Architectural Circus, a business on Niagara Street, was charged with felony criminal possession of stolen property.

"He's merely charged with being in possession of them at this point," said Dennis J. Richards, chief of detectives.

"Detectives [had] search warrants issued and executed not only at [Weisberg's] house but also at a warehouse he rented on Rhode Island Street," Richards said.

The victim, police said, told police he purchased several of the stolen items from Weisberg several years ago, when Architectural Circus was still operating.

Among the items that remain missing are an oil painting of a man playing bass, $600; statue of an angel without wings, $8,000; pair of end tables, $600 each; oil painting of a woman with a thick frame, as much as $20,000; and tribal masks from the Fiji Islands, each about 4 feet high and valued at $2,500 each.

Richards said it is possible some of the items may already be out of the area or have been sold several times in antique shops or auction houses.

Anyone with information of the items taken is asked to contact Sgt. Sherry Kiszewski at 851-4477.

Meanwhile, police, while searching Weisberg's house, also discovered he had an illegal gas meter that enabled him to steal more than $3,000 in natural gas from January 2004 until last month.

Weisberg was charged with grand larceny, theft of services, criminal tampering and criminal possession of stolen property.

e-mail: tpignataro@buffnews.com1

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