Real Name: Robert Leads
Aliases: None known
Wanted For: Grand Theft
Missing Since: 1987
Details: Fifty-six-year-old Robert Leads is wanted for the theft of several paintings in Los Angeles throughout the years. In his schemes, he convinced many people with expensive pieces of art to let him sell them. He then gave them large amounts of stock as collateral for the paintings. However, he would send them fake stock in his bogus company as collateral, and then keep the stolen paintings.
One victim, an Australian art dealer, allowed Leads to sell two of his paintings: Auguste Renoir's 1916 'Anemones,' and Mary Cassatt's 1904 'Head of a Girl'. He had received the collateral from Leads, but demanded that he return the paintings when they weren't sold after thirty days. Leads refused to return them. The art dealer then discovered that the collateral was fake. He contacted police and told them about the scheme. Police then issued a warrant for his arrest, but he had disappeared.
Police have discovered that Leads has gotten over $330,000 from the stolen paintings. On June 14, 1988, an investigator tracked down the painting 'Anemones' to Beverly Hills, which Leads had sold to someone else in another scheme. Surprisingly, Leads has called investigators multiple times, professing his innocence. His current whereabouts are unknown.
Extra Notes: The case was featured on the January 25, 1989 episode.
Results: Captured. Several viewers recognized Leads as a condo salesman named Robert Lee McKinney in Williamsburg, Virginia. He was living in an affluent neighbor with his business partner. After the broadcast, he went into hiding. Four days later, he was arrested at a Newport News hotel. On February 7, he was extradited to Los Angeles. He pleaded no contest to grand theft and was sentenced to two years in prison. He has since been released.
After the update, several stolen art pieces were listed by Stack, in hopes that viewers could locate them. They included the Potato Eaters and Sunflowers, by Van Gogh, that were stolen in the Netherlands in 1987;Impression Sunrise, along with other Claude Monet pieces that were stolen in 1985; Bird and Bouquet, by Marc Chagall was stolen in 1987; Lady Writing Letter with Maid by Vermeer was stolen in 1986; Still Life with Peaches, Pears, and Grapes, by Robert Dunning was stolen in 1987, and Stairs, by Y.J. Cho, was stolen in 1988.
Potato Eaters and Sunflowers were later found, along with Impression Sunrise in 1990. Lady Writing Letter with Maid was recovered in 1993. It is unknown if the other three paintings were ever recovered.
- Con-artist disappears with works by Renoir, Cassatt and Fantin Latour
- Fugitive Pushed Condos
- Man pleads innocent in art theft
- Bail Review Set for Art Theft Suspect
- SitcomsOnline Discussion of Robert Leeds