AP NEWS

Highlights in the history of a serial thief

March 31, 2019

Much of what is known about 53-year-old Edward Laird, a homeless man arrested earlier this month in southwestern Santa Fe County on his most recent charges of burglary and other counts, is gleaned from court records and news reports.

Documents show he has traveled across the country pursuing what appears to be a career of high-end serial burglary, with dozens of arrests. This timeline is not a complete account of charges Laird has faced. He has been convicted in several past cases, but the outcome of every case listed could not be determined.

Mid-1960s: Edward Laird is born in Glendale, Calif., according to Florida authorities. Relatives could not be found to confirm this or to speak about his childhood.

April 1986: Police in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., arrest him on counts of burglary and theft, according to court documents. This is the first arrest record The New Mexican found for Laird. A month later, he is arrested by Broward County sheriff’s deputies on suspicion of making threats and shooting into an occupied building.

December 1989: Fort Lauderdale police charge him with burglary and possession of burglary tools.

August 1990: Laird is arrested in Broward County on suspicion of possession of cocaine and drug paraphernalia.

October 1990: He faces a charge of grand theft auto in Fort Lauderdale.

August 1991: Broward County deputies accuse him of burglary, possession of burglary tools and prowling.

June 1993: Fort Lauderdale police charge him with dealing in stolen property, being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm, grand theft, driving with a suspended license and dealing in precious metals without a license.

December 1997: He is arrested by Fort Lauderdale police on a charge of grand theft.

February 2004: Laird shows up in court records in Douglas County, Ore., facing charges of unauthorized use of a vehicle, criminal mischief and driving a vehicle with a destroyed ID.

April 2004: He faces charges in Douglas County of burglary, theft, criminal mischief, drug possession and contempt of court.

July 2004: He is charged in Douglas County with manufacturing a controlled substance.

March 2005: Laird is accused in Douglas County of burglary, theft, criminal mischief and breaking into a vehicle.

August 2006: He is charged with theft in Douglas County.

2007: Laird is accused of burglaries in Angel Fire and in Trinidad, Colo. News reports say he was charged with stealing $40,000 worth of trophy animal mounts, $40,000 worth of elephant tusks as well as jewelry and other valuables from a ranch outside Trinidad. At the time, he also was wanted on charges in Oregon, Florida and Maine, according to news reports.

February 2009: He is charged in Raton with burglary and larceny.

May 2009: Laird breaks into the home of a Santa Fe artist and art collector and steals a drawing believed to be an authentic van Gogh sketch along with dozens of other artworks. Estimates of the sketch’s value range from $250,000 to $1 million.

September 2009: He faces charges in Raton in the Santa Fe art theft case, as well as charges of receiving a stolen motor vehicle and tampering with evidence. The purported van Gogh drawing had been discovered at a consignment shop in Raton and sold for $250 — a discovery that made headlines nationwide.

December 2009: He is charged in Raton with burglary and larceny.

November 2009: Laird is charged in Taylor County, Texas, with burglary of a vehicle, criminal trespassing and possession of marijuana.

September 2010: He is arrested in Vermont on suspicion of burglarizing condominiums at a resort in Stowe and on suspicion of credit card fraud. Again, he makes headlines because of his ties to the van Gogh theft.

October 2011: Laird is sentenced in Raton to five years in prison after being convicted in the art theft in Santa Fe and pleading no contest to burglarizing an Angel Fire home in 2007. A news report says a state District Court judge imposed a 15-year sentence but suspended 10 years of it.

August 2013: He is released from prison on parole, according to the New Mexico Corrections Department.

July 2017: Laird is accused in Santa Fe County of receiving a stolen vehicle. Court records say he was stopped on N.M. 599 and officers discovered he had three active arrest warrants and the vehicle he was driving had been reported stolen in Albuquerque.

August 2017: He is charged in Santa Fe County with residential burglary, receiving stolen property, larceny and receiving stolen motor vehicles. Court records say he is accused of breaking into a home on Rogersville Road in the area of Cerrillos and Madrid. The case is pending.

March 2019: He is found at an abandoned home near Madrid and arrested on multiple warrants, along with new charges of breaking and entering, criminal trespassing, resisting officers, receiving stolen vehicles, larceny, residential burglary and criminal property damage in several cases stemming from incidents in Cerrillos and Madrid that date back to 2016. He remains held in the Santa Fe County jail.

Source: Online court records and media reports