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LAPD detectives search for jewelry made by slain Joseph Gatto

Courtesy of Los Angeles Police Department
Photographs distributed by the Los Angeles Police Department show jewelry that was made by Joseph Gatto. In an effort to track down a suspect in Gatto's murder, police are hoping to find someone who may have unwittingly purchased from a pawn shop one of the items stolen from Gatto's home.

Los Angeles police detectives want to know if anyone has recently bought jewelry from a pawn shop that has a signature insignia of the late Joseph Gatto, who was found shot to death in his home last month. Gatto is the father of state Assemblymember Mike Gatto.

LAPD distributed a community alert flyer Thursday saying detectives are searching for jewelry pieces marked “J A Gatto,” along with a circular design.

Joseph Gatto, 78, was a well-known craftsman in his Silver Lake neighborhood who made unique jewelry using all sorts of stone, metals, bone and even Egyptian scarabs, according to the flyer message:

Detectives hope to find someone who has recently purchased a ring, bracelet, pendant or necklace from a pawn shop. That could give them a possible trace to a possible suspect.

Gatto was found slumped over a desk in his home on Nov. 13 by a family member. He suffered a gunshot wound to the stomach, according to the L.A. County Coroner’s Office.

No one has been specifically named a suspect in the investigation, though detectives released a sketch about three weeks ago of a car burglar.

Residents saw the armed suspect breaking into a vehicle on Nov.  12, not far from where Joseph Gatto was killed in his house. Detectives have been cautious to link the suspect to the murder investigation, saying only that he’s a person “they’d like to talk to.” But police continue to search for that man.

Joseph Gatto taught for more than 45 years at a variety of schools and chaired the visual arts department at the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts. After retiring from education, he pursued his passions for artwork and craftsmanship, making ornate jewelry.