The case of the missing Rahmfather is heating up at Tribune Tower. According to his Facebook page, John Kass, the owner of the famed purloined painting, is going "Jack Bauer". As reported yesterday, the painting disappeared during an office move. Mr. Kass was given a new office. The painting was stolen on or about May 30.
A note written in red crayon was left behind. "DO YOU WANT TO SEE YOUR RAHMFATHER AGAIN"
If Mr. Kass goes through with his scorched earth investigation, Tribune Tower may be christened Terror Tower. The appellation would be apt for the building's looming gray Gothic presence on Boul Mich.
The case of the missing Rahmfather parallels a famous case from the 1950s, the case of the stolen kishka. The stolen kishka (keeshka) was memorialized in the song, "Who Stole the Kishka," made popular by the Polakholics and Frankie Yankovic.
The case of the stolen kishka was never solved but rumors abounded that the butcher whose kishka was stolen went on a bloody rampage. Yaschel, who allegedly found the kiska and hung it on the rack, was never seen again.
Speculation is rife on social media as to who stole the Rahmfather. Some usual suspects have denied any role in the theft. One, the Faceless Reporter, denied he was involved and defended or provided alibis for other usual suspects.
One can sense the palpable fear emanating from Tribune Tower while crossing the DuSable Bridge. Conversations in Argo Tea and the Starbucks across the street stop when any gray haired male walks through the door.
In the subterranean Billy Goat Tavern, no one wants to talk about the theft lest they be ratted out and later subjected to harsh interrogation techniques. The darkness of underground Michigan Avenue fits the mood at the iconic drinking establishment.
Strange bulky swarthy looking men in ill fitting clothes and sunglasses have been seen in the vicinity of Tribune Tower fueling rumors John Kass employed Mediterranean mercenaries to help find the painting.
They just might be tourists though.
Rumors the Outfit is assisting have been debunked as no elderly men sucking oxygen and using walkers have been seen hobbling around the premises talking to their hands.
There is also fear in the River North, Gold Coast, and Streeterville art communities. Stories abound that hushed inquiries are being made in various galleries and dealers by menacing looking figures with what are described as soft voices and moist looking eyes.
Those descriptions also match some in the wine and cheese set looking to buy extremely rare works of art.
The Chicago Police Department is silent as is the F.B.I. It is not known whether an official report was filed or if any type of official investigation was launched. If an investigation was or is eventually launched, it will be the heater case to end all heater cases.
According to the F.B.I. website, "Art and cultural property crime—which includes theft, fraud, looting, and trafficking across state and international lines—is a looming criminal enterprise with estimated losses in the billions of dollars annually."
The F.B.I. has a rapid deployment team of 14 highly trained agents to track down art thieves internationally. Since its inception in 2004, the team recovered well over 2000 pieces of property valued at $150 million. Recoveries included works by Rembrandt, Renoir, Goya, Picasso, and Matisse.
The F.B.I. also created and manages the searchable National Stolen Art File (NSAF). A search of the NSAF did not turn up the missing Rahmfather.
With all the noise Mr. Kass is making, the Chicago news media is strangely silent on the theft of this rare and priceless art work.
The famed painting was created by graphic artist, Eric Brightfield. Mr. Brightfield created a replica for Mayor Rahm Emanuel. The mayor allegedly pestered Mr. Kass for a copy. It was delivered to the mayor over the Christmas/Hanukkah holidays.
The replica is the only surviving painting of the Rahmfather, making it more than priceless, unless the original is found.
Neither the mayor nor members of his staff or operatives are suspects in the theft. Rumors and social media claims to the contrary are blatantly and patently false.
From all appearances the theft of the Rahmfather is an inside job. Only someone who had access to the building and specific floor could have taken the painting.
Mr. Kass made it known he will not give up searching for the painting and culprits. He will use all his acquired skills and any and all methods to find the painting and thief or thieves. There will be no mercy, no pity, and no surrender.
John Kass was emphatic that he says what he means and means what he says.
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