The case against a prominent Salt Lake antiques dealer charged with receiving stolen property was dismissed Tuesday.

Anthony Christensen, 62, owner of Anthony's Antiques and Fine Art, 401 E. 200 South, was arrested in May and charged with theft by receiving stolen property, a second-degree felony. Prosecutors alleged he bought a painting that was stolen.

A statement from Anthony's Antiques said Christensen bought the painting from a "trusted source without any knowledge or suspicion that it had been stolen."

The painting was returned immediately after Christensen realized it had been stolen, according to the store.

Christensen's preliminary hearing was scheduled for Tuesday, but the Salt Lake District Attorney's Office asked for a continuance. Deputy district attorney Alicia Cook said the lead prosecutor in the case wanted more time to do some investigation in the case.

Judge Sheila McCleve denied the motion to continue and dismissed the case without prejudice.

Cook said the District Attorney's Office wasn't surprised by the dismissal, noting that it has been the practice of 3rd District Court for a couple of years to dismiss cases at the preliminary hearing stage if prosecutors aren't prepared to go.

The lead prosecutor in the case plans on going ahead with the additional investigation, Cook said, and based on what Jacey Skinner discovers, that will determine if charges are re-filed at a later date.

Christensen's arrest was the culmination of a five-month investigation by Salt Lake police that resulted in a total of six arrests and two additional warrants issued.

Another well-known local dealer, John Pilcher, 66, was also charged with theft by receiving stolen property.

Investigators alleged that people who seemed to have an eye for valuable art and antiques would break into people's homes, steal high-end quality merchandise and sell them to local antique stores.

Pilcher waived his preliminary hearing. His next court date is set for Aug. 18.


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