QUEENSBURY — A Lake George man who has been arrested in a variety of theft cases in recent months has been indicted and jailed for allegedly possessing a stolen painting worth thousands of dollars, court records show.
Michael J. Vittengl, 61, was charged with felony criminal possession of stolen property, and sent to Warren County Jail for lack of $25,000 cash bail or $75,000 after pleading not guilty Wednesday in Warren County Court.
The charge stems from the theft of a painting of racehorse American Pharaoh worth $5,000 to $8,000 from Flores Fine Art Gallery in Saratoga Springs, court records show.
Vittengl, though, appears to have told Warren County sheriff’s officers a few different stories as to how he came to obtain the artwork, according to court records.
He told sheriff’s Investigator Ed Affinito that owner Frankie Flores gave him the painting to sell on consignment, but told sheriff’s Patrol Officer Dan Habshi that it had been given to him as payment for a debt, records show.
“That painting was mine,” he told Habshi.
The painting was recovered.
Vittengl was also charges with fourth-degree grand larceny, a felony, by Saratoga Springs Police in December after a multi-week investigation into the reported theft of a vehicle and contents inside, police said.
Police received a complaint in October from a person who claimed that Vittengl had failed to return their vehicle, authorities said. Saratoga Springs Lt. Robert Jillson said police were able to contact Vittengl, who returned the vehicle, but the owner reported over $1,000 worth of property that had been inside was missing.
That charge is still pending in Saratoga Springs City Court.
He also faces a misdemeanor petit larceny charge for allegedly going to a day spa in Queensbury, receiving hundreds of dollars in services and leaving without paying.
Warren County sheriff’s officers last fall received information that he was also involved in a fundraising scam, selling tickets to a ”Great Gatsby” themed event that police believe did not exist. But sheriff’s Lt. Steve Stockdale said no one came forward to claim they purchased tickets, so no charges were filed.
Vittengl was involved with a number of local car dealerships over the years, and in 2011 told The Post-Star that he planned to open a luxury used car dealership on Route 9 in Queensbury, but it never opened.