New York Woman Arrested for Art Theft From Government Office While Buying Dog Licenses

Amanda Lou Packard captured on surveillance stealing a painting from the county administration office. Photo: Monroe County District Attorney's Office.

In upstate New York, a woman has been arrested after security footage revealed she stole an oil painting from the Monroe County Administration Building after purchasing a pair of dog licenses there, reports the Pocono Record.

Amanda Lou Packard, 56, was arrested yesterday for the March 6 heist, which went undetected until March 19. Once officials became aware that the painting was missing, a review of surveillance footage showed Packard absconding with the artwork about 25 minutes after she picked up her dog licenses.

As far as audacious, broad-daylight art crimes go, this ranks right up there with the Oscar Murillo Museum of Modern Art theft (see Oscar Murillo Painting Goes Missing From MoMA—Was it Theft?), and the man who tried to walk out of a gallery in the UK with a painting under his arm (see Shameless Art Thief’s Brazen Daytime Heist Foiled).

In Monroe Country, the incriminating video was released to the public, and within hours tipsters had called in to identify Packard. Meanwhile, the thief snuck back in to return the painting, stashing it in a vestibule, an incident also caught on camera.

The piece, which had hung across from the voter registration office, is labeled with a brass frame reading “‘Sciota Mill Stream’ Danielle Reish, Donor Artist,” but Fred Beaver, the curator of the courthouse’s art gallery and a former art teacher, told the Record that the scene depicts Monroe County’s Brinker’s Mill.

The painting of Brinker's Mill stolen by Amanda Lou Packard from the Monroe County administration office.  Photo: Monroe County District Attorney's Office.

The painting of Brinker’s Mill stolen by Amanda Lou Packard from the Monroe County administration office.
Photo: Monroe County District Attorney’s Office.

The mill, which was built in 1730, played an important role as a Patriot storehouse during the Revolutionary War, when general John Sullivan was fighting the local Iroquois, who had allied with the British.

“For 25 years, everyone has enjoyed the artwork at the administration building and there have been no problems at all,” said Beaver. “The painting represents a lot of history. I’m glad they got it back.”

County detectives arrested Packard on Monday for theft of removable property, and brought her to the Monroe County Correctional Facility for processing. A preliminary hearing has yet to be scheduled.

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