Detectives intensify search for stolen art

NEW YORK — Authorities are ramping up their effort to solve a Manhattan mystery: Who drilled a hole into the home of a beef fortune heir and stole a collection of iconic artworks by Roy Lichtenstein and Andy Warhol?

The culprits also made off with surveillance video footage that might have caught them in the act.

The New York Police Department released images of the art late last week, hoping someone might help solve last month's crime in the trendy Meatpacking District by recognizing works such as a well-known Lichtenstein print called "Thinking Nude."

Authorities estimate the five-story apartment was burglarized sometime during Thanksgiving week, when owner and art collector Robert Romanoff was away.

Calls to Romanoff's home went unanswered late last week.

Also taken from the building was a Lichtenstein print called "Moonscape," the Carl Fudge oil painting "Live Cat," the Warhol prints "The Truck" and "Superman," and a set of eight signed Warhol prints from 1986 called "Camouflage." They're among the artist's last works before his death the following year.

Authorities estimate the artworks, plus stolen Cartier and Rolex watches and other jewelry, are worth about $750,000.

The Romanoff home is in a neighborhood filled with old warehouses and meatpacking companies now turned into retail and living space, restaurants and boutiques. Police say the thief drilled a hole through the wall of a hallway sometime between Nov. 24 and 28.

Lichtenstein, who died in 1997, created "Thinking Nude" in 1994 — one of 40 limited-edition works that are part of his "Nudes" series based on comic-book illustrations. A similar print recently sold for about $85,000 at Christie's, according to the auction house's website.

Warhol's "Superman" print is part of his 1980s "Myths" series featuring fictional characters with mass-cultural appeal, including Mickey Mouse and Uncle Sam.

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