SAN ANGELO, TX - It’s a West Texas version of National Treasure. The item stolen: a painting of a man on a horse. The sticky-fingered culprit: a man who looked like he just got off one.
It was December 30, 2016 when a man in his sixties walked into City Hall, up to the fourth floor, took this painting, covered it with his jacket and walked right back out.
Police released this security camera footage on January 4. It's an odd crime -- just ask anyone who's heard about it. How the man was caught? Police credit citizens.
But there's a modern day twist to this tale.
"They're very plugged-in to Facebook and Twitter. They're familiar with our Crime Stoppers program," Officer Tracy Gonzalez, with SAPD, said.
The video has been shared and viewed thousands of times on the San Angelo Police Department’s social media account. So, where was the painting found?
"At a residence near ASU,” Gonzalez said.
Um....not exactly how westerns go, but wouldn't you call that "the outlaws hide-out?" Yeah...we'll go with that.
As for the painting, it was returned safely to the San Angelo Museum of Fine Arts (SAMFA). It's one of several pieces in a collection by Jimmy Cox -- a San Angelo cowboy who painted and sculpted what he knew, his way of life.
Which was an interesting one.
"He was a deputy sheriff in Tom Green County. He himself was a cowboy, and he also acted in western TV shows and movies,” Laura Huckaby, assistant director of the SAMFA, said.
Cox passed away in 2012, but plenty of his pieces can be found all over the nation.
"He was nationally known for his art and most of his art is actually collected in California because he lived in Hollywood for a number of years,” Huckaby said.
So, there you have it. A Wild West “who-dunnit” solved. But this time, no shoot outs, cattle drives or pigs that keep hanging around.
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