Former Security Guard Pleads Guilty to Theft from Museum in New Mexico

Admits to theft of $500K O'Keeffe painting, robbery of county treasurer's office, theft from cafe, and is suspect in another painting theft


Former Georgia O'Keeffe Museum security guard William Crumpton pleaded guilty to stealing an O'Keeffe painting valued at a half million dollars and for a $8,000 theft from the Santa Fe County, N.M. Treasurer's office safe -- which is located near the museum in Santa Fe.

According to a report in The New Mexican newspaper, Crumpton actually called the police department to report the theft when he "discovered" a burglary in progress on Jan. 8, 2004. He then is believed to have hidden the painting within the museum. The painting was recovered. In his plea, Crumpton also admitted stealing from the museum's cafe.

Crumpton is also a suspect in the December 2003 theft of O'Keeffe's No. 21-Special, which was stolen from the Museum of Fine Arts. That painting, valued at $1 million, has not been recovered.