FBI reopens 40-year-old art-heist case at Amherst College
A nearly 40-year-old cold case involving the theft of a valuable work of art from Amherst College has been reopened in the hopes of locating the Dutch Golden Age painting.
The FBI is working with Amherst’s Mead Art Museum to locate a work stolen in 1975 from the museum in Massachusetts. The canvas, which dates from the 17th or 18th century, was one of three paintings torn from their frames during a break-in.
Mead Art Museum officials announced this month that they are working with the Boston division of the FBI and the FBI’s Art Crime Team to try to solve the case.
The missing work is Jan Baptist Lambrechts’ “Interior With Figures Smoking and Drinking.” In the years since the theft, officials have recovered the other two pieces: Hendrick Cornelisz van Vliet’s “The Interior of the New Church, Delft” and Pieter Lastman’s “St. John the Baptist.”
In 1989, police in Illinois recovered the paintings by Van Vliet and Lastman during a drug sting. Myles Connor Jr., a notorious bank robber, was arrested for the theft and he later detailed the art heist in his 2009 book “The Art of the Heist.”
The missing Lambrechts painting is registered with the National Stolen Art File.
Heath Cummings, the museum’s director of security, said in a release this month that after collecting and reviewing old files, news articles and witness recollections, “it is safe to say we have learned all we can about the theft, enough to officially reopen the investigation.”
Individuals with any information relating to the theft, or to the location of the painting, should contact the FBI at (617) 742-5533 or online at https://tips.fbi.gov.
The missing work is an oil on canvas painting and measures about 22 inches by 19.5 inches.
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