Expensive art and workers missing
Police are seeking help in locating 2 for questioning about artwork missing from a gallery at Aloha Tower
Honolulu police are asking for help in locating a man and a woman wanted for questioning about artwork missing from a gallery at Aloha Tower Marketplace.
The couple, Francis X. Blackwell Jr. and Ann W. Taylor, worked for Island Art Gallery at 1 Aloha Tower Drive for the past four years. Gallery owner Jeff Liu fired them June 27 after they failed to provide paperwork or the artwork when Liu repeatedly asked for them.
An inventory conducted June 17 revealed that eight pieces worth more than $50,000 were missing.
Blackwell, 59, the gallery art director, falsely portrayed himself as the gallery owner when he sold the pieces to a customer, CrimeStoppers Sgt. Kim Buffett said at a briefing yesterday.
Fake invoices for the missing pieces were discovered after the customer reported that he did not receive one of the three pieces he purchased in December 2005.
For a year and a half, the customer, who is from Pennsylvania, had regularly contacted Blackwell about the third piece he had yet to receive, but the customer could not get a "satisfactory answer" from him, Liu said. The customer later found Liu's e-mail on the Internet and informed him of the matter.
The customer then sent Liu an invoice showing that he purchased three pieces of artwork while the invoice provided by Blackwell and Taylor indicated only two pieces were purchased, Liu said.
After sending the customer's third art piece, Liu questioned the couple. Both told him that it was the first time they had made a mistake on the invoice. A couple of days later, Liu was about to transfer an art piece when it couldn't be found. Two other art pieces also could not be found.
Liu said he became suspicious and conducted an inventory that revealed more missing art pieces.
The missing works include "Preparing the Corn," above. CLICK FOR LARGE
The missing works include "Blue Hair Wahine."
Blackwell, described as 6 feet tall, 230 pounds, with blue eyes and brown hair, has several aliases that include Frank Blackwell, Franklin Xavier Blackwell and Frank Xavier Peterson.
He has a record of 10 felony convictions for first- and second-degree theft and larceny theft. The offenses occurred in 1978, 1987 and 1997 on Maui, according to the Hawaii Criminal Justice Data Center.
Taylor, 58, the gallery's consultant, is described as 5 feet 6, 126 pounds, with blue eyes and brown hair.
Liu said he is offering a reward for the return of the art pieces.
Anyone with information on the whereabouts of Blackwell and Taylor is asked to call CrimeStoppers at 955-8300.
The missing work includes:
» Original oil paintings on canvas by Zhou Ling, "Blue Hair Wahine" and "Beloved," priced at $16,000 and $13,800, respectively.
» An original painting on paper by Zhou Ling, "Nature's Offering," $4,500.
» A 10-inch sculpture called "Mahi," by David Wirth, $1,600.
» A flower-oil painting on canvas by Dana Queen, "Essence of Hawaii," $1,800.
» A limited-edition print on canvas by Herb Kane, "HMS Discovery off the Puna Coast," $1,500.