Suspects in $21M heist at Tony Buzbee's house arrested

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Two men accused of stealing $21 million worth of valuables from Houston mayoral hopeful Tony Buzbee's house have been arrested.

Buzbee told ABC13 Eyewitness News in February that he pulled a handgun on one of the suspects inside his River Oaks mansion, but the gun misfired.

RELATED: Houston mayoral hopeful Tony Buzbee victim of million-dollar heist

According to the prominent attorney, the burglary took place as he slept inside of his gated estate at the corner of River Oaks Boulevard and Del Monte, in Houston's most exclusive neighborhood.

Late Thursday, we learned Nicholas Johnson, 36, and Julian Franklin, 33, were arrested and charged in connection with the heist. Johnson is facing a felony count of theft. He has a previous arrest for possession of a controlled substance.

Franklin is facing a felony burglary charge. He also has previous arrests for possession and delivery of a controlled substance.

Court documents show both men were previously convicted on unrelated drug offenses.

Buzbee alleges the thieves stole a laundry list of items valued in the millions of dollars.

What was stolen from Tony Buzbee's River Oaks mansion:
  • Three firearms, including a rifle/shotgun combo, a pistol and an automatic rifle
  • Pablo Picasso's 'Femme Accoudee' painting, valued at $216,611
  • Claude Monet's 'La Plaine de Gennevillers' painting, valued at $1,273,125
  • A Fernand Leger painting, 'Paysage au coq rouge', valued at $1,284,015
  • Pierre Bonnard's 'Jeune Femme au Chapeau noir,' valued at $832,125.00
  • Jean Pierre Cassigneul's painting, 'Femme en Vert,' valued at $111,563
  • Childe Hassam's 'California Hills in Spring' painting, valued at $985,000
  • An Apple computer
  • $50,000 in watches
  • $300 in cash

Late Thursday, Buzbee posted this message on his Facebook:
I want to thank the Houston Police Department for making three arrests in the burglary of my home. The investigation continues in trying to locate all the stuff stolen, which includes my Aggie ring. After I authorized the offering of a $50,000 reward, an individual who claimed to have info contacted my law office. After a lot of foolishness and misdirection, and with cooperation and instruction of the police, as well as great work by the lead detective, the suspects were finally identified and located. I'm told the three suspects are gang members and have been involved in at least three other burglaries. I'm of course hoping for convictions and recovery of the things taken. For those that expressed condolences when this traumatic event first happened, thank you. For those that didn't, I hope that nothing like this ever happens to you, especially when you are home with two of your kids like I was.

Both men are expected in court Friday.


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