This story starts as we enter a certain wealthy man's life, his name is Frank. Frank's great grandfather started a shoe store business more than ninety years ago. His new business not only survived, it was doing well, so he decided to open more shoe stores with the same business name. Putting all his money into his business, ten years later after opening his first shoe store, he now has twenty successful shoe stores. Meanwhile, the great grandfather raises and teaches his son (Frank's grandfather) everything he knows not only about shoes but business too.
When he is too old to manage the business, Frank's great grandfather passes this growing franchise on to his son. Years later, when Frank's grandfather gives his father the business, the franchise of shoe stores has grown to over two hundred and fifty nationwide. Frank's father successfully gets his shoe store franchise to grow to four hundred stores nationwide. Frank inherited and earned, since his father's death, about thirty million tax-free dollars along with over four hundred nationwide shoe stores.
Frank is single and lives in a large luxury skyscraper condo apartment in Manhattan, New York City. Because of his huge fortune he goes to parties where the very rich can only go. His friends are wealthy doctors, lawyers and businessmen like himself. He also gets together with these people to throw parties and to have other types of social activities.
As a hobby, years ago, Frank began seriously studying art. He learns the many different categories that paintings and drawings fall under (Modern, Baroque, Abstract, Surrealism, Expressionism, Gothic, Impressionism, Religious, Renaissance, Folk, Dutch, Cubism, Drip) as well as other names, all the different types of painting and drawing art, fall under. Frank also learns that all the countries around the world have art that is known as priceless, but this is true mostly only in their country and to their proud countrymen. This is French Art, British, Chinese, Russian, American Indian, Indian, Spanish, Japanese, German, Greek, Italian, American, and art from many other unmentioned counties of the world.
Years ago Frank bought an expensive encyclopedia set that he keeps in mint condition. He upgrades it if he believes he needs to. This encyclopedia has thousands of photographs, mostly in dazzling color, revealing the world's most priceless works of painting and drawing art. He also owns an encyclopedia set of the greatest artwork in churches. This would be paintings on their ceilings and walls and regular canvas paintings they may have displayed. Frank also owns an encyclopedia set showing the greatest hand sculpture art found in museums, churches and private homes.
As Frank gets further
into art he learns that there are priceless works of art that are beautifully
painted centuries old, kept in perfect condition and are sold for and worth much
less than the most known legendary artist's paintings. These paintings are valued
from one hundred, two hundred, three hundred thousand dollars, right up to one
million dollars. We see Frank buying and building this type of expensive art collection
as he then enjoys showing it off to other art lovers and collectors.
This hobby of his, through time, has grown so much that he now spends several hours a day focused on it. Traveling alone or with other wealthy art collecting friends, he goes to art museums throughout the world viewing the most famous and priceless works of art (paintings, drawings and sculptures).
He also goes to all the famous churches known for their priceless art. (This would be paintings on the church walls and ceilings and regular canvas paintings they may have displayed on these walls. He and his friends also view the great hand sculpture figures found in these churches throughout the world.) At these places he gazes alone or with art lover friends for endless hours.
Frank also goes to private homes that legitimately bought a famous priceless work of art and they want to show it off, or sell it to an art lover like him.
After studying and working hard for many years, he finally obtains the highest- level skills of an art expert. This is being able to look at a priceless painting or drawing as well as other types of priceless art, then know whether it is authentic or not.
In of all his computers, (portable and non-portable) besides having several, home art, museum art and church art highest-level computer disk encyclopedias, he has put many other files of valuable art information, important to collectors as himself. With his computer being on line, he types in the name of the famous artist he wants paintings, drawings or sculpture photos of, from at the search area of the Internet provider he subscribes to. He finds and saves the images he wants by moving them to his computer picture folders. For hours each week he enters into these files in order to add information or to browse through this priceless art item list.
Every page is set up as follows; there are three rows of seven, one square inch pictures of a priceless work of art. Over time, Frank has added more than three thousand priceless art photos. After he puts an art picture into this folder, he first fully researches, then lists the following information next to each picture: how much this work of art either cost the individual who owns it, or what it is worth on today's world market. Also listed is what year it was created and who was the artist that made it. He just clicks his mouse on one of these images and it enlarges in size for him to enjoy viewing. He just clicks his mouse to enlarge in size the arts important vital statistic information for entertainment reading.
As Frank is listing art information in his computer and learning more about it, he notices that a large amount of art is classified as missing or stolen. He buys books and borrows other ones from the library that go into detail explaining why and how this happens. When he gets together on the telephone or in person with other art collecting friends, because Frank wants to know as much as possible about art, they talk in depth about this.
learns that stolen art is many times sold by one or more thieves in secret places
for much lower prices than the one or several items are worth in the world's art
He learns that wealthy people like him self who have bought a priceless stolen piece of art years ago, sometimes secretly, want to sell it. Frank also learns that these rich individuals many times also throw secret parties so they can show off the priceless work or works of art they illegally own, to wealthy art collectors like Frank. Frank can't resist viewing the greatest priceless masterpieces, so when he hears that someone wants to show one or more of these stolen multi-million dollar paintings off, he winds-up going to see it or them.
One day Frank hears of a work of art (a painting) that would be worth millions of dollars on the world art market; the owner wants to sell it. This is a painting that Frank personally finds beautiful and breathtaking, but there is one problem. This famous painting was stolen decades ago then sold again and again and now is with this current owner. Frank goes with a couple of wealthy art lover friends who, like Frank, are the greatest experts at looking at a painting or drawing and then knowing whether it is authentic or not. Early in the morning he meets the current owner, the four then head for a storage place that has good security.
Arriving, they go to where the priceless large oil painting is. The owner opens his monthly rented storage area. He pulls out a large stand to put the painting on. He next puts on medical gloves. He then nervously takes the painting out and removes it from it's cover. He puts the priceless painting on the stand. Right after this, Frank and his friends pull out powerful magnifying glasses. They then intently study the painting. Several minutes later, Frank and his two friends are certain the painting is authentic.
The owner confesses, "Since I bought this painting knowing it was stolen, I have kept it safely hidden here. I am in constant fear that the police will find out that I have this painting and then will take it away from me. I have decided that I don't want to live with this stress in my life any longer!" The owner asks the three men, "What do you think this painting would be worth in today's world art market?" Looking at each other and then at the painting, Frank and his two friends start to throw million dollar figures around. A few minutes later they all agree that the painting is worth about ten million dollars. Hearing this final figure the owner agrees with them saying, "That is exactly what I believe it is worth."
He then quickly tells the story; "I bought this painting eleven years ago from a collector who had bought it over thirty years ago from an art thief. Since the first owner of the stolen painting badly wanted to get rid of it, I paid only one hundred and seventy five thousand dollars for it. I do not want this painting anymore either! I cannot stand the aggravation of owning a priceless work of art like this under these conditions!" The owner continues, "I paid one hundred and seventy five thousand for it. Anyone of you men can have it for that same price." Frank's two friends immediately decline, as he remains quiet. Being an art lover, Frank personally finds this painting to be worth more than the ten million it most likely is currently worth on today's world art market. He is so stunned by it's fame and timeless beauty that while gazing at it Frank says, "I'll buy it!" With his two friends standing next to him struck, he asks the owner, "When can I bring you the money?" The painting's owner tells Frank, "As soon as you can."
Being that it is still the morning and it is a weekday, Frank tells the owner, "I shall go to the bank right now and withdraw the money. My friends can stay here with you, as I will be back with the full amount in cash in thirty to forty minutes." The painting's owner and Frank's friends agree to all stay waiting for him to return. He then leaves for one of his banks. Arriving, he quickly takes the money out of his safe deposit box, then returns about thirty-five minutes after he left.
With his friends present, he hands the now former owner one hundred and seventy-five thousand dollars for the priceless stolen painting. Frank asks the former owner for then puts on medical gloves, he then carefully picks up the large painting and puts it into the cover the former owner had it in. With some difficulty he again lifts the painting. The former owner quickly removes two clean blankets from his storage area; the four men then leave the building and head for Frank's car.
Arriving, he hands the painting to one of his friend to hold, he then opens up the trunk. Frank next takes one blanket from the former owner and then lays it in the trunk and neatly opens it. He then grabs the priceless painting from his friend and gently lays it on the blanket. He then takes the second blanket from the former owner and lays it on the painting. He next unfolds it on the front of the painting and then closes the trunk. The former owner shakes his hand and wishes him good luck. Frank then gets into the car with his two friends and leaves. He drops off his friends then heads home.
After arriving and feeling safe, he puts the painting on a wall in his living room. Then, sitting back in his lounge chair, he relaxes and enjoys looking at the masterpiece.
Frank knows many people in the art world. Once in a while if a stranger who loves art comes with one of his many friends, this person can view the expensive paintings Frank has throughout his house.
One day about five months after he bought the stolen multi million-dollar painting, a friend of his comes to his huge condo apartment with a stranger who is an art lover. Without Frank or his friend knowing it, this man's (his name is Patrick) brother is an F.B.I. lieutenant. Standing with a friend of Frank at his door this stranger asks (Frank) if he could view his expensive paintings, Frank says, "Ok." The two then enter his beautiful apartment.
As the three men are walking through the apartment, Patrick notices a large frame on the floor leaning up against a wall with a sheet over it. He walks over to the frame and as Frank gestures for him not to, he lifts the sheet. Patrick looks at the painting and then his eyes open wider as he recognizes it.
He looks at Frank and say's, "Isn't this a priceless Vincent van Gogh painting that was stolen over thirty years ago?" Frank takes a deep breath and says, "Yes." Patrick then asks, "How did you wind up with this painting?" Frank tells him, "I bought it five months ago from a man who owned it for eleven years. He bought it from a person who bought it from the art thief over thirty years ago." Frank continues, "I saw the painting with my friends. The owner badly wanted to get rid of it and offered me such a low price I couldn't resist, so I bought it." Patrick then asks, "Why is the painting on the floor with a sheet on it?" Frank tells him, "I was getting paranoid knowing what it's worth and that I bought it stolen, I don't know what to do with it." Gazing at Frank, Patrick then asks, "May I see the rest of your paintings?" Twenty minutes later Patrick has seen enough. He shakes Frank's hand as he thanks him for a great afternoon viewing priceless art. Patrick and Frank's regular friend then leave.
At his home Patrick calls his brother, the F.B.I. lieutenant, and tells him, "I discovered another person who owns a multi million dollar stolen painting!" The agent asks him, "Are you certain?" "Yes, the man, who's name is Frank, admitted it." "Ok Patrick, give me his last name and address and I will obtain a search warrant to search his house." Patrick gives this to him and tells his brother, "The oil canvas painting is a Vincent van Gogh." He then gives him a vivid description of the painting.
A week passes. The F.B.I. lieutenant obtains the search warrant of Frank's condo. He and six other agents knock on the door with no answer. In order for them to enter the apartment the agents have a F.B.I. locksmith with them who drills the special made locks open. Drawing their guns, they then open the door and enter Frank's apartment yelling, "F.B.I., search warrant!" Fully searching the apartment they see Frank is not home, the agents look for the painting, anyway.
Five minutes after they entered the apartment, working side by side two agents find the priceless missing Van Gogh. They put a special covering over it then rush it out of the condo. Two agents remain standing in front of Frank's apartment. Two hours after the F.B.I. agents removed the priceless painting from his apartment, Frank enters the high-rise lobby. A pair of agents, who were waiting in the lobby, approaches Frank. They search and handcuff him while reading the Miranda rites.
At the F.B.I. state headquarters' building, Frank calls his lawyer who gets him out of jail three hours later.
At home on all the local news stations he watches the reporters tell this embarrassing story. Two weeks later after Frank's lawyer made a deal, Frank stands with his attorney in front of a judge. The judge states, "Since it is returned to the individuals family who owned it, besides losing one hundred and seventy five thousand dollars for what you paid for the painting, you shall be fined another fifty-thousand dollars and must serve two hundred hours of community work." The judge seated at his bench then says, "This is my verdict!" As he then hits his wooden hammer down.
A few days after the judge's decision, the management running the high raise Frank is living in, asks him to come to their office for an important meeting. He goes, seating himself at a table with the assistant vice president and the manager of the condo association. The manager tells him, "That because of the recent scandal, we decided it would be to the best interest of the entire building if you moved." Not wanting any trouble Frank does not argue. The next day he puts his condo up for sale and one week later he finds and moves to a different condo apartment in Manhattan, New York City. Frank makes a vow to himself, "Never again will I buy any stolen art!"
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