Exclusive: Painting, stolen 9 years ago, found

May 22, 2012 2:17:27 PM PDT
A beloved painting that was stolen nearly nine years ago from a Germantown art collector has been returned to its rightful owner.

Only Action News was there as police served a search warrant on Freeman's Auction House on Tuesday to recover the painting, "Dividing the Profits" by David Ridgway Knight.

The owner, Harry Lownsbury, saw the painting in a catalogue of items. Police say Freeman's is in no way connected to the theft.

"This is a long lost child. I regard them all as my family," said Lownsbury.

The painting was among a number of items stolen from Lownsbury's home on Washington Lane in 2003. One million dollars worth of artwork, ceramics and other valuable items were stolen.

The case garnered headlines and the suspect, George Winns, was arrested. While most of the loot was recovered, some of the items remain missing.

"Of the art I have not gotten back, I would say this is my favorite," said Lownsbury.

Investigators say Freeman's Auction House is cooperating with the investigation.

"We will trace back how the auction house acquired it and they have provided that information," said Sgt. Joe Cella of the Philadelphia Police. "We'll conduct interviews and try and trace back to the original theft nine years ago."

Lownsbury is hoping the investigation will lead to his other stolen items. He has spent a lifetime collecting this work, but he says it may be time to part with much of it.

"It's costly to live here and I'm not a Rockefeller," he said.

Detectives say this investigation is far from over and there could be new arrests.


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