*The man who took Lupita Nyongo’s pearl-encrusted Oscar dress from the London West Hollywood Hotel last week returned it Friday — because the pearls weren’t real.
TMZ reported that a man contacted them Friday claiming he had taken the Calvin Klein frock from the actress’ hotel room when he noticed the door was ajar. He says he then removed a couple of pearls, took them to Los Angeles’ garment district to be appraised and found out they were fake.
The burglar told TMZ that he decided to give the dress back because it was worthless. He said he stuffed the garment bag into a trash bag and left it across from the hotel’s gym. TMZ shared the location with LAPD, who indeed found it there, hidden under a bathroom sink.
Nicole Nishida, a spokeswoman for the L.A. Sheriff’s Department, told the Associated Press that the dress “greatly resembled” the one that went missing from Nyong’o’s hotel room. She said the police were in the process of verifying it was the same gown.
When it was reported stolen, Nyongo’s stylist claimed it was worth $150,000, although the thief says it’s “almost worthless” because the jewels weren’t real.
In a news conference on Friday, police spokesman Michael White told reporters that the suspect could still face burglary and grand theft charges regardless of whether or not the pearls were real. No one has been arrested yet, however.
In a statement, Nyong’o told Women’s Wear Daily, “I’m happy that it has been potentially recovered. It’s a timeless and priceless piece of art.”
“Once it’s returned to us, we will be able to have the dress restored and archived, as it now represents an important moment for the brand,” added the dress’ creator, Francisco Costa, in his own statement to WWD.