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Vancouver, BC: Police seek $7,500 painting stolen from 105-year-old

Police seek $7,500 painting stolen from 105-year-old

By Vivian Luk, Vancouver Sun July 24, 2010 Be the first to post a comment

The suspect who stole a painting from the room of a 105-year-old woman living in a Vancouver rest home.

As far as paintings go, the Manet-style Emile Zola portrait isn’t all that valuable. Measuring two feet by three feet, it’s worth an estimated $7,500.

But the oil painting, along with a framed 9 x 12-inch, black and white portrait of its owner at age 17, are “of great sentimental value” to owner Gertie Lerner and her family. Lerner is 105 years old and the portraits were stolen from her room at a west-side rest home.

Vancouver police believe the theft was targeted, and they also believe the thief was caught by surveillance cameras.

An unidentified woman was seen walking into the home on July 11 around 6 p.m., carrying a pot of flowers, a duffel bag and a large flat cardboard box, Const. Anne Longley said Friday.

The woman walked directly into the victim’s room, where she lingered for no more than four minutes.

Video surveillance shows her leaving the building with the box and shoulder bag, but without the flowers, which were left behind in the room. The theft was discovered a day later when a relative noticed the piece of art was missing and alerted staff and police.

Neither family nor staff recognized the woman.

The female suspect is described as white, 30 to 35 years old, 5-foot-6 and 220 pounds, with shoulder-length dirty blond hair. She was wearing large dark sunglasses, running shoes, a black T-shirt and black Adidas track pants with three white stripes on the legs.

“The fact that she was carrying a box appropriate for carrying a painting indicates this was targeted,” said Longley.

Longley said police need the help of local art dealers, collectors and the public to assist in returning the art to the owner and identifying the thief.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.

© Copyright (c) CW Media Inc.

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