Ron Roseman was cleaning out his aunt and uncle’s house after they both passed away when he found a piece of artwork hanging from the back of the couple’s bedroom door. Ron immediately thought about selling it.
He got $2,000 for it from a local antique shop and figured that would be the end of the story.
But the artwork he’d discovered wasn’t just any old painting. It was an abstract piece called “Woman-Ochre,” by Willem de Kooning — and it was actually worth $165 million!
In fact, the exact painting had been stolen from the University of Arizona Museum of Art (UAMA) over 30 years ago. There were no cameras in the museum back then, so the thieves got away with it.
Not long after Ron’s visit, a customer at the store was the first to recognize the piece. He offered $200,000 for the painting, but the shop owners decided to investigate it instead. Ron received a phone call from the FBI not too long after that.
“The FBI assured me that I wasn’t in any trouble,'” Ron told WFAA.
But while the FBI and local police department are not entirely sure whether Ron’s aunt and uncle stole the artwork, they are still investigating the story. Ron said that he couldn’t imagine his aunt and uncle being involved in the heist. Even so, there is a lot of evidence pointing to them.
“My personal thought, and it may be totally wrong, but when I first saw where the painting was hanging in the house — it was for their private display, not for anybody else,” said the antique shop’s co-owner, Buck Burns. “It was hung behind that door, and when that door was open, nobody could see it.”
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Photo: Little Things