MARINA DEL REY, Calif. — A stolen Rembrandt sketch was too hot to handle for thieves, and even the detective who held the 17th-century artwork in white-gloved hands Tuesday admitted he was nervous.

After all, it was only days earlier that the 350-year-old artwork worth $250,000 had been swiped from the lobby of a seaside hotel.

The 11-by-6-inch pen-and-ink drawing was found in an unlocked public area of an Encino church Monday evening after a caller recognized it from news accounts of its weekend theft, said Los Angeles County sheriff’s spokesman Steve Whitmore.

It was verified as being the stolen piece shortly after midnight, he said.

But experts will be asked to authenticate the work as a Rembrandt, and until then it will remain in an evidence locker, Whitmore said.

“It’s going to stay under lock and key until the detectives determine where to send it next,” he said.

The frame holding it will be fingerprinted and investigators will try to determine whether the church has any surveillance video, detective Clarence Williams said Tuesday as he held up the recovered artwork in a dark-wood frame at a Marina del Rey news conference.

The Rembrandt was snatched from an easel on Saturday during a private art display in the lobby of the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Marina del Rey. A curator was momentarily distracted by someone who seemed interested in buying another piece.

The thieves apparently tore open brown paper covering the back of the frame, intending to remove the mounted sketch, but then got cold feet.

“The Judgment” was completed around 1655 and is signed on the back by Rembrandt von Rijn. It was drawn with a quill pen and depicts what appears to be a court scene.

Tribute organizers: Kiss off

LOS ANGELES — Organizers of a Michael Jackson tribute concert dropped Kiss from the lineup after receiving widespread criticism for booking the band despite critical comments toward the late pop singer by bassist Gene Simmons.

The announcement Tuesday came a day after Global Live Events announced Kiss would join the show planned for Oct. 8 in Cardiff, Wales.

Fans, media and the singer’s estate quickly noted that Simmons has said in recent years that he was convinced Jackson molested children.

Some of Simmons’ harshest comments came last year, when he told Classic Rock magazine, “There’s no question in my mind he molested those kids. Not a doubt.”

Jackson was acquitted of molestation charges after a 2005 trial in California.

Global Live Events CEO Chris Hunt accepted blame, calling Kiss’ booking an “oversight.”

A spokeswoman for the band was not immediately available for comment.

Stamp to honor film director John Huston

LOS ANGELES — Legendary Hollywood film director John Huston is being honored with a postage stamp.

The U.S. Postal Service said the stamp honoring the Oscar-winning director of 1948’s “The Treasure of the Sierra Madre” will be issued next year.

The art on the stamp is inspired by the 1941 movie “The Maltese Falcon.” It depicts Humphrey Bogart holding the statue of the falcon.

Huston’s credits also include the Academy Award nominated films “The Asphalt Jungle” (1950), “Moulin Rouge” (1952) and “Prizzi’s Honor” (1985).