Counting down the FBI’s Top Ten Most Wanted Art Crimes

#10: Stolen Renoir


Madeleine Leaning On Her Elbow With Flowers In Her Hair by: Renoir
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September 8, 2011 a quiet Houston home was invaded by a desperate criminal wielding a semi-automatic weapon. After slipping through an unlocked gate, the perpetrator broke into the home around 10pm. Fearing for the safety of the child asleep upstairs, the homeowner quickly pointed out the Renoir.
“That’s the most expensive thing I own,” she said in a panic. Taking her on her word, the masked gunman tore the framed painting from the wall before making his getaway. The Houston PD was immediately called out, and the case eventually landed on Sergeant Bedingfield’s desk. Even after twenty years of criminal investigations, Bedingfield found himself a little out of his league. A priceless Renoir painting wouldn’t show up at a local pawn shop. He calls in the FBI and Robert Wittman takes the case.
Wittman specialized in art crimes and helped establish the FBI Art Crime Team. Together they have spent nearly six years following every lead.
These cases aren’t like the movies portray. The thief wasn’t a hired thug under the employment of some secret art connoisseur. The Renoir isn’t being shipped through a network of underground criminals, and it most definitely not hanging in the office of some super rich criminal mastermind. More likely, the priceless artwork is hidden in the thief’s garage.
After London created the Art Loss Register, thieves have found it difficult to sell their stolen goods. The more it’s worth, the harder it is to unload. Madeleine Leaning On Her Elbow With Flowers In Her Hair by Renoir was added to London’s list and also comes in at #10 on the FBI’s Top Ten Most Wanted Art Crimes.
If you have any information on this crime please contact Wittman:
Robert Wittman, Inc.
PO Box 653
Chester Heights, PA 19017
Tel: 610.361.8929


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Synova Cantrell may be known for her fedora, but she wears many hats. Synova volunteers with the Missouri Missing organization by highlighting obscure cold cases on her true crime blog to help generate tips. She firmly believes together we can give grieving families answers, hope, and support. Synova works as the Production Editor of True Crime: Case Files Magazine. As SWMO’s #1 True Crime Writer, Synova authored Unorganized Crime; a biography of the ex-gangster Sidney Heard of Chicago, IL. This thrilling tale of con games, bank robbery, and mayhem has recently been endorsed by a retired FBI agent. Her best-selling series, Seriously Stupid Criminals, is a fan favorite in both paperback and e-book formats. Her latest e-book, Grim Justice tells the story of a judge and his wife retired in Palm Beach, Florida in 1955. Her first case files book, Snatched was released on New Year's Day. Fans eagerly await her newest serial killer series set to launch late 2019. Synova has a passion for helping fellow authors and knows how overwhelming it can be to get started in this business, that is why she created Synova's Simply Biz. Synova breaks down the business of writing in a simple way. If you need help with your business check out her new page To follow all her adventures and read her true crime blog, log onto Connect with Synova: Twitter: Facebook: Instagram:

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