Philly FBI recovers, returns stolen Rockwell painting to owners

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A more than 40-year-old mystery was finally cleared up Friday as law enforcement officials turned over a stolen Norman Rockwell to members of the Cherry Hill family who had owned it.


Lazybones (Boy Asleep With Hoe), also known as Taking a Break, depicts a recumbent, roly-poly young fellow and a snoozing dog. The image appeared on the Sept. 6, 1919, cover of the Saturday Evening Post.

The framed canvas, measuring about 25 by 28 inches, was taken from Robert and Teresa Grant’s house on Harrowgate Drive in Cherry Hill’s Fox Hollow section during a burglary that was discovered on July 2, 1976, when the family returned home from Ocean City.


The couple are deceased, but their six children are alive.





“It’s unbelievable,” said Liz Schleinkofen, 56, now of Philadelphia, who was 15 the last time she saw the painting, hanging in the foyer of their Cherry Hill home.

The painting “looks better” than she had remembered, she added.

Schleinkofen was among several family members present at the ceremony held at FBI headquarters in Philadelphia. The painting was displayed on an easel as officials described how it was retrieved, with investigative help from Cherry Hill police.

Officials said the artwork was turned in to the FBI by the owner of a Philadelphia area antique store who had purchased it not long after it was stolen, officials said. He believed it was a copy and had tried to resell it.




When he couldn’t sell it and because his wife liked the Rockwell, they hung it in their kitchen.

Experts at the Barnes helped verify its authenticity, officials said.

Louis D. Lappen, acting United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, said the investigation of the theft was still open.





















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Philadelphia News & Search

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