Alleged Oscar Thief Indicted

Man arrested but never charged in heist finally indicted on grand-theft charges

By Josh Grossberg Sep 01, 2000 6:10 PMTags
When it comes to honor among (Oscar) thieves, The Sopranos these guys ain't.

Facing six months in the slammer for his role in the Oscar robbery, former Roadway Express truck driver Lawrence Ledent turned witness for the prosecution and gave the Los Angeles County Grand Jury enough damning testimony to get an indictment against his alleged partner in crime, Anthony Keith Hart.

The criminal indictment, handed down earlier this month and made public Thursday, accuses Hart, 38, of one count of grand theft stemming from the March heist of 55 Oscars from a Southern California loading dock.

Hart now becomes the second Roadway Express employee to be officially charged with the robbery, which made international headlines and became the butt of Billy Crystal's jokes at this year's Academy Awards ceremony.

(All but three of the little golden guys were recovered. when trash collector Willy Fulgear literally stumbled upon the stolen statuettes next to a dumpster behind a 24-hour supermarket and coin-op laundromat.)

Shortly after the theft, authorities arrested Hart, a seasoned dockworker, and Ledent, 38. However, prosecutors initially decided they didn't have enough evidence to charge Hart, and let him go. Hart then fired back with a $20 million wrongful arrest suit against the LAPD.

In July, Ledent pleaded no contest to the crime, and was sentenced to six months in county jail and ordered to pay $50,000-plus in restitution. But with his jail time approaching (he's due to go behind bars December 6), Ledent decided to make like a canary.

He testified to the grand jury, which found the evidence damning enough to indict Hart on August 8. Hart is due in court for a hearing on September 18.

Meanwhile, the three Oscars are still MIA.