We all have that dream of finding some rare artifact that is worth millions, and for a man named Ron Roseman, that dream became a reality. It all started when Ron was working on cleaning out his aunt and uncle’s house after they both passed away. He came across a piece of artwork that had been hanging on the back of their bedroom door. It seemed like a nice piece, so Ron figured he would take it to some local artists to see what it was worth.
Ron was delighted when he got $2,000 for it from a local antique shop and figured that would be the end of it, but he was very wrong. He later found out that this artwork was actually an abstract piece called “Woman-Ochre,” done by Willem de Kooning. And this artwork had no ordinary value, it was actually worth $165 million!
That very painting had been stolen from the University of Arizona Museum of Art (UAMA) over 30 years ago and the piece was never seen again, that is until Ron uncovered it. It was a customer who went to the antique shop that Ron sold the artwork to who recognized the painting. That customer offered $200,000 for the art, but the shop owners declined the offer and decided to investigate the situation instead. It was not long after that when Ron received a phone call from the FBI.
“The FBI assured me that I wasn’t in any trouble,’” Ron said. The FBI and local police department are still not entirely sure if it was Ron’s aunt and uncle who stole the artwork they are still investigating. Ron said that he couldn’t even imagine his aunt and uncle could be involved in a crime like this. Even though they may not have seemed like the people who would do this, the FBI claims that 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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