LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The $150,000 Oscar gown worn by actress Lupita Nyong‘o that was stolen two days ago was returned on Friday by the thief, who tipped off celebrity news site TMZ.com after learning the pearls on the dress were fake, according to officials and the website.
TMZ said the thief took the Calvin Klein dress from Nyong‘o’s hotel room on Wednesday after finding the door ajar.
The Kenyan actress had worn the dress adorned with 6,000 pearls to Sunday’s Academy Awards in one of the most commented looks of the night.
Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Lieutenant Michael White told reporters at a Friday news conference that they received a call around 3 p.m. local time from a media outlet who reported hearing from an anonymous caller that the dress had been returned to the London Hotel.
The media source said the thief removed two pearls from the dress and took them to the Garment District in downtown Los Angeles where they were told they were not real, according to White.
Nicole Nishida, a spokeswoman with the department, later confirmed that the media source was TMZ.
The thief then took the dress back to the London West Hollywood hotel and said it was in a garment bag inside a trash bag in a bathroom, White said.
TMZ then tipped off the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department in West Hollywood, which was investigating the theft. The website shows grainy footage of an unidentified person opening the bag and finding a white dress.
White said the investigation into the theft would continue whether the jewels were authentic or fake.
“If we found out that they were not real, we still have a burglary and we still have a grand theft,” White said.
Reporting by Eric Kelsey and Mary Milliken; Editing by Andrew Hay and Lisa Shumaker