Thieves have run away with a couple of expensive paintings owned by a Malibu-based foundation established by Sam Simon, co-creator of The Simpsons.
A representative from the Lost Hills sheriff's station has announced that $400,000 worth of artwork has been stolen from the Sam Simon Foundation, which owns a property in Malibu, California where both paintings were housed.
Sgt. Matthew Dunn told the media that one of the paintings is a $200,000 piece created by Roy Lichtenstein, an American pop artist known for his brightly colored comic strip-themed paintings. Lichtenstein was influential in the development of a new movement called new art in 1960s New York. The other painting, also worth the same amount, remains undisclosed.
Both paintings were reported lost on Friday last week. They are believed to have been stolen sometime during the previous day.
The sheriff's office has declined to provide further details but is calling on the public who might have information on where the paintings are held to immediately call Det. Sam Taylor of the Lost Hills sheriff station in Agoura Hills, California at (818) 878-1808.
The Sam Simon Foundation is a philanthropic organization established by Simon after he left The Simpsons as a producer. Simon is one of the three men credited for creating the satirical comedy sitcom featuring the crude and clumsy Homer Simpson and his dysfunctional family. The other two are Matt Groening and James L. Brooks, who to this day remain executive producers of the Fox animated sitcom.
Out of the 31 Emmy Awards bagged by the long-running sitcom since its creation in 1989, three of them were won by Simon for his work as writer and executive producer. In 1993, Simon stepped down from his position as writer and producer due to constant conflicts with his co-creators and Gracie Films, the production company behind the show, but not before negotiating a contract that required Fox to pay him royalties from the show.
Since then, Simon has channeled most of his wealth into philanthropic efforts mainly through his foundation, which rescues stray dogs and trains them to be helper dogs for people with disabilities and soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder. In 2007, a 60 Minutes episode described the foundation as "the grandest dog shelter in the country, a five star spread in Malibu, perhaps the most desirable real estate on the planet. Here, among the waterfalls and the manicured grounds, the Sam Simon Foundation gives stray and abandoned dogs a new lease on life, literally." The foundation also provides free vegan meals to some 400 families every day.
In 2012, Simon was diagnosed with colon cancer and decided to give away the bulk of his personal wealth to charity. He passed away last month. He was 59.