The Federal Bureau of Investigations has offered Evanston police its assistance in solving in which three men reportedly stole upwards of $200,000 in art from an Evanston couple after knocking them to the ground and restraining them with duct tape.
Evanston police spokesperson Cmdr. Jay Parrott said the bureau contacted the department to offer help in tracking down the stolen art.
“[The FBI has] a team of individuals who deal specifically in stolen artwork and we just thought it would be a good idea,” said Evanston police spokesperson Cmdr. Jay Parrott. “They reached out to us when they became aware of the incident and we advised them of what was taken. However, the big issue is trying to get the actual paintings identified, but we don’t have any photos of them as of yet.”
Not having photos to identify which pieces of art were stolen will make it more difficult for the FBI to find the prints and paintings. But Parrott said the bureau could still notify local and foreign art dealers to keep an eye out for anyone selling art by Giuseppe Guerreschi, the Italian painter who police said created the two most valuable stolen pieces.
Police responded to a home invasion call in the 2200 block of Central Street at 8:55 a.m. Friday, after Ronald Fink, 68, and his 68-year-old wife Bonita were robbed by three men posing as deliverymen.
The three men reportedly entered the home by kicking Ronald to the floor. Once inside, the men also knocked Bonita to the floor and proceeded to duct tape both their hands.
“He threw me to the floor and then he literally jumped on me and proceeded to duct tape my hands and feet,” said Ronald Fink in an interview with ABC7 Chicago. “They were taking my wife and doing the same to her and put her under the dining room table.”
The three men reportedly took four pieces of artwork: a 1950s oil painting, a print of a crucifixion and two other prints. The oil painting and crucifixion print were each valued between $50,000 and $100,000, according to the victims, while the remaining two prints were not of significant value.
After the three offenders left, the victims were able to free themselves and call police, police said. The couple was taken to a local hospital soon after. Ronald was released soon after, but Bonita reportedly suffered a heart attack during the invasion.
Police described all three offenders as either white or Hispanic men. One is described as wearing dark clothing, possibly a black shirt and pants. Another was described as having a stocky build and wearing a red and white shirt with black pants. No description was given for the third offender. Police reported that the three offenders might have been driving a small, white box-style truck, possibly rented from Budget car rental.
Parrott said the home may have been targeted and cased if the thieves suspected there was valuable artwork inside.
Anyone with information regarding this incident can call the Evanston Police Department at 847-866-5000, call the detective bureau at 847-866-5040 or contact police by texting “CRIMES” (274637) and then typing EPDTIP in the message line followed by your information on the incident. All texting tips are anonymous.