|The image used for the cover of ‘Lost and Found’ clearly shows one of the stolen paintings, Vermeer’s ‘The Concert,’ hidden in Mr. Rumkowsky’s lost and found. Lawyers for the museum say this image could prove to be a very important piece of evidence should the case go to court.
Boston, MA – In the latest development in the search for the priceless artwork stolen from the Isabel Stuart Gardner Museum, attention is now being focused on an elementary school custodian and the children’s author and illustrator who chronicled his actions in their book, “Lost and Found.”
“I don’t know anything about any of that stuff in there,” Stanley Rumkowsky said to reporters after leaving the FBI offices in Boston. “As far as I know, the Shroud of Turin is at the bottom of that box. Kids leave stuff behind and I just put it in there. It’s not like I’m an art historian or anything.”
Rumkowsky, custodian at Ella P. Larch Elementary School in Mossboro, Massachussetts for the past fifty one years, was referring to the lost and found box he keeps in his office.
When agents noticed the Vermeer painting, “The Concert” on the cover of the children’s picture book “Lost and Found,” written by Bill Harley and illustrated by Adam Gustavson, they immediately obtained search warrants for the elementary school and custodial office. The search came up empty.
“All we found was a bunch of sweaters and hats and a couple of Grecian urns,” one unidentified FBI agent said on his way out of the school.
Jason Smedley, head of the federal investigation into the lost artwork, noted that Rumkowsky had been cleared of wrongdoing, but now Harley and Gustavson were being retained as “persons of interest” in the case.
“They know something,” Smedley said. “We just want the paintings back, but at this point, they’re still not talking.”
Harley and Gustavson, presently embroiled in another escapade relating to a fourth grade boy named Charlie Bumpers, were not available for comment, according to their lawyer, Alana Rothstein.
“They will speak when they have something to say,” she said.