They say art imitates life... right before that art is stolen out of a person's home.
NorthJersey.com reports that a handyman hired by Marvel's chief creative officer, Joe Quesada, allegedly pulled a Scott Lang (the character who would become Ant-Man started out as a professional burglar) and stole nearly $300,000 in original art and rare comic books from Quesada's home in North Jersey. He then purportedly sold pieces to dealers all over Manhattan, and has now been charged with third-degree burglary and second-degree theft.
According to the news outlet, police have identified the perpetrator as 64-year-old Francesco Bove, who was hired to fix a broken water pipe at the Marvel exec's house in Sparta Township, New Jersey, over the summer. (The house does not appear to be Quesada's main residence.) Bove did his job, but, according to an arrest affidavit obtained by NorthJersey.com, he purportedly covered the property's security cameras with towels and moved in with his girlfriend.
According to the report, Quesada's wife eventually noticed the security feeds showed black screens, and she dispatched a friend to visit the property, which appeared to be occupied. Quesada supposedly called Bove, who copped to squatting there. He was promptly fired and told to leave — but not before he allegedly absconded with some valuable comic books (among which was a $15,000 issue of Daredevil) and works of art drawn by Quesada himself.
According to the arrest affidavit, a friend alerted Quesada that a portrait of Quesada's wife — which had been kept at the property — had been put up for sale, and a call to a local art dealer allegedly revealed that Bove had sold the pieces and claimed that Quesada gave them to him. Most of that property has since been recovered, according to the Associated Press.
Bove was arrested on Oct. 10 at his Brooklyn home and will most likely be tried in New Jersey's Sussex County Superior Court, in Newton. However, the courthouse's criminal division tells SYFY WIRE that Bove hasn't been served yet with a copy of the complaint or a notice to appear. In addition, it stated that Sparta police haven't been able to locate Bove, most likely because he is currently in the possession of the NYPD.
He's at the very early, "preliminary stages", a spokesperson says, adding that at the moment the division only has a record of the charges, which include burglary, entering a structure, and theft of moveable property amounting to "a lot of money".
SYFY WIRE has contacted the Sparta Police Department for comment. A spokesperson for the NYPD could not immediately comment on the case, while Bove could not immediately be reached.
Quesada, who stepped down as Marvel's editor-in-chief in 2010, was the company's longest-serving top editor after Stan Lee. Among his various duties, the CCO serves as a producer on the Marvel Netflix shows, ABC's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. while drawing exclusive Marvel art for cons and variant covers.