MADISON TOWNSHIP, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) – It’s a crime the likes of which northeastern and central Pennsylvania perhaps has never before seen a home invasion art heist. The victim is a former journalist who wrote about the artist behind the paintings that were stolen.
The burglar or burglars struck as the homeowner slept. As Eyewitness News Reporter Mark Hiller explains, state police are now on the hunt for the person or persons behind this home invasion art heist.
“When they went inside they knew exactly what they were looking for. There was other items in there that could have been taken but when they went in they knew what they were looking for, they got in, and they knew it was valuable,” said Pennsylvania State Trooper Bob Urban.
Eight paintings by the artist F.T. Brokenshaw commonly known as “Brock” are now in the hands of a thief or thieves. The artwork, valued at $1,500 to $15,000 each, was stolen early Tuesday morning in Madison Township from a home on Aberdeen Road. The 85-year-old home owner was sleeping at the time and had his hearing aids out so he never heard the home invasion. “The victim could have startled the thief when he was in there and then it could have got worse from there,” said Tpr. Urban.
The victim, Daniel Cusick, was a newspaper journalist for more than five decades. He even wrote a 1972 biography about Brock which included illustrations of some of the now-stolen paintings.
“That’s why I’m installing cameras and everything today,” said David Gillette who owns D&S Auto Repair. The art heist upsets Mr. Gillette who’s business is located just down the road from Cusick’s countryside home. Mr. Gillette is concerned that a man who’s a longtime friend has become a victim of what he considers a big city crime. “Now, it’s starting to come into the area. You know, you just hear different things.”
It’s more than just artwork state police say was swiped. The intruder or intruders also made off with roughly a thousand dollars worth of silver silverware, a ,22 caliber rifle and even the victim’s car. State police say that car could help them pick up the art thieves’ trail. Tpr. Urban said, “It was a red Toyota Solara. If someone encounters this vehicle and it looks suspicious, there is a weapon there so don’t approach it. Call authorities immediately.”
State police say the painter Brock concentrated most of his work in the Bethel Woods, NY area. Troopers say they will work with New York state authorities to see if the crime is connected out of state.
Pennsylvania State Police say they want to hear from you if you have any information at all that can help. You can reach them at the Dunmore barracks at 570-963-3156 or call 911.