Here’s a story that contradicts much of what the experts tell us about art thefts which is that they are primarily crimes of opportunity, not the work of criminal masterminds with shopping lists composed by secretive billionaires. The rented Pebble Beach home of a retired Harvard Medical School professor and his business partner was robbed of 30 works, including 16 “significant’’ works by Jackson Pollock, Edgar Degas, Rembrandt, and Renoir. The stolen art was valued at $27 million for insurance purposes in 2002. Ralph Kennaugh, 62, is the former oncologist and his partner is Angelo Amadio, 31. The art was stolen from their personal collection:
Investigators have strong leads in the case, but Amadio said that does not mean the pieces will be returned. “We believe these pieces are already out of the country and sold, since they have buyers ready in professional heists like this,’’ he said. […]
Several factors have led the business partners to believe the heist was done by professionals with sophisticated knowledge of the art market. Amadio said that only three or four people in the world knew the two owned some of the pieces and that the thieves took only authenticated paintings, though the collection included some impeccable reproductions that only a skilled eye would be able to distinguish from the original.
Amadio said in an interview last night that he believes the value of the collection increased since 2002, as the two acquired more art, including a 4-foot-by-7-foot Pollock painting thought to be worth at least $20 million and possibly as much as $80 million. Internal and external hard drives containing business records and client contact lists were also stolen from Amadio and Kennaugh’s laptop computers, Amadio said.
Stunning Art Theft Has a Harvard Link (Boston Globe)