LOUISVILLE (WHAS11) – LMPD says they know the name of the possible suspect in the theft of the LeRoy Neiman painting of The Greatest stolen right off the wall of the Muhammad Ali Center Saturday afternoon.
"It was a crime of opportunity you can kind of see everybody walking around and he just notices, hey there's no other civilians around. I'll just take it off the wall, put it in my shirt and leave," LMPD Detective Matthew Montfort said.
The thief was caught on surveillance. Now, thanks in part to the community's tips, LMPD said they believe they know who the suspect is.
"There has been some tips come in that were actually very helpful we developed basically. We have names of people who are involved and the name of a possible suspect, so we are going to keep following up any investigative leads that we get, but hopefully we can recover this property as soon as possible," Detective Montfort said.
The Muhammad Ali Center said police have identified the suspect and police are in the process of trying to recover the stolen property.
This theft comes just about two months after another tribute to the hometown hero, a replica of his red bike at Spaulding University, was also stolen.
"Everybody is pretty upset. You know Muhammad Ali is well known and with him recently passing, it’s still a hot topic. He is still on everybody's thoughts, so it’s just sad to know that another, basically, piece of art--or something--that is associated with Muhammad Ali was stolen," said Montfort.
The Muhammad Ali Center said they have additional security measures already in place to prevent like incidents from occurring.
Neiman is known for years of paintings at the Oaks and Derby from the Paddock, but was also a longtime companion to Ali.
“Leroy admired Muhammad, Muhammad admired Leroy, he would go ringside to a lot of his fights, in fact I believe he was at Rumble in the Jungle,” Jeanie Kahnke from the Muhammad Ali Center said.
Officials have not said if the suspect identified was the person shown in a surveillance photo on Monday.