Archive for Tuesday, September 15, 2009

KU’s missing Ellsworth painting returned when prankster realized stunt ‘wasn’t funny’

September 15, 2009


A $10,000 portrait stolen from a Kansas University residence hall has been returned to campus, police said.

The canvas painting of Robert Fred Ellsworth Sr. had been missing since mid-May from the entryway of Fred Ellsworth Hall, 1734 Engel Road.

The student who stole the painting returned it last week, after realizing their prank "wasn't funny," said Capt. Schuyler Bailey, KU Public Safety Office spokesman.

The portrait went missing during a period when students were moving out of residence halls for the summer. It portrays Ellsworth, the man the on-campus residence facility was named for and a Lawrence native who worked at the university for nearly 40 years.

Police said no arrests had been made, but that the case would be sent to the Douglas County district attorney's office to determine whether charges will be filed.

Meanwhile, Bailey said police were still investigating an unrelated string of thefts and vandalism last spring that involved old books at Watson Library.

At least six large, rare and valuable books dating back to the early 1800s were vandalized and thousands of dollars worth of expensive artwork inside the books was stolen.


bangaranggerg 8 years, 8 months ago

This article goes a long way to increase my confidence in the competence of law enforcement. /sarcasm

Mel Briscoe 8 years, 8 months ago

i stayed in that hall when i was a student and don't remember that painting. must not have made much of an impression on me at the time.

KansasVoter 8 years, 8 months ago

From the old article: "Its value was estimated based on state inventory classification guidelines. “It’s got sentimental and historical value,” Robertson said."

I'd like to know what those guidelines are and a few other details about the painting (a Google search didn't help). Where does the $10k value come from? Was it an old painting? Was the painter famous? I'll bet that it's actually only worth about one or two thousand dollars. That being said, stealing is wrong and the jackass who took it should have to do at least 100 hours of community service.

Amy Heeter 8 years, 8 months ago

It was probably commissioned painting. Since the subject is no longer available ( that also may be true of the painter) for a sitting that might have something to do with the calculation of value. The painting may also have been insured for tha value quoted.

ryanfox 8 years, 8 months ago

Shouldn't rare books be at the Spencer Research Library? How rare can a Watson book get? Granted, I checked out a book published in 1855 from Watson, and was allowed to take it home with me. Which seems... not right somehow... but it did allow me to work on my paper at 3am, rather than 11am-4pm at SRL.

puddleglum 8 years, 8 months ago

I like checking books out at watson like everybody else, but why would you check out a book since 1855? give the rest of us a chance to read it too.

Danimal 8 years, 8 months ago

I hope our merry prankster has to do a couple hours of community service.

LadyJ 8 years, 8 months ago

According to Judge McGraff, if he lived there he did nothing wrong unless he was given a written statement when he moved in saying he could not take it. Shoot, he didn't even have to return it according to the Judge.

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