Search on eBay Solves Case

Ariel Messman-Rucker

Liz Hickok is an artist – not a crimefighter.

But she cracked the case of the violent February break-in of DVC’s art gallery after recognizing her stolen photograph for sale on eBay.

Former DVC student, Leroy Fisher, 32, now faces charges of possessing stolen property, a felony offense that carries a maximum sentence of three years in state prison. His trial is set to begin Dec. 12.

Hickok, who specializes in creating San Francisco architecture out of colorful gelatin and then photographing it, received a phone call in June from someone who collects her artwork.

The collector informed Hickok that one of her photographs, titled “Twin Peaks,” was being sold on eBay and listed as “damaged.”

 “I went online and immediately recognized it as mine,” Hickok said in a recent telephone interview with The Inquirer.

Hickok said she knew the photograph was the one that had been stolen because she had never before printed a version of “Twin Peaks” in such a large size.

She immediately called the college district’s police services to inform them of her discovery, Hickok said.

Detective Ryan Huddleston, who headed the investigation, obtained a search warrant for the suspect’s home, said Lt. Tom Sharp of district police services.

Once inside the house, police found Hickok’s two photographs from the art show, including the one listed on eBay; one of the stolen computers; and “a multitude of things…unrelated to the case,” Sharp said.

Fisher was arrested and held in Martinez county jail from July 2 to July 23.

The break-in was originally discovered when gallery director Arthur Scott King and art department chair Michelle Krup came to work Monday Feb. 11 and found the door to the gallery pried open by power tools.

Two photographs were stolen, as well as two computers and a piece of video artwork by Desiree Holman. At the time, police services had no suspects and few leads.

Holman, who is a part- time instructor in the digital media arts department, had a disc that contained her video artwork in one of the computers that was stolen. She declined to be interviewed for this story, and Sharp refused to say whether the disc had been recovered.

Although Sharp now speaks more openly about the burglary, at the time of the break in he refused to reveal even basic information. A veil of secrecy seemed to envelope the case, with King, as well as many art department teachers and staff, refusing to speak on record about the theft.