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By Mae Slater on
 February 16, 2024

Law enforcement searching for stolen 200-year-old painting of George Washington

In a desperate plea for public assistance, Colorado authorities have launched an extensive search for a stolen painting of George Washington, deemed a "national treasure." This revered artifact, dating back to the early 19th century, vanished from a local storage unit under the cover of darkness, igniting a widespread investigation.

USA Today reported that the priceless 200-year-old painting of George Washington, was stolen late last month prompting an urgent call for help to recover this family heirloom and national treasure.

The incident came to light in late January when the Englewood Police Department disclosed that a break-in at a storage facility had resulted in the theft of this historically significant painting. Created in the early 1800s, the artwork has not only a monetary value but an immense historical significance, having been in the possession of the same family for over half a century.

Public's Help Sought in Historic Theft

In response to the theft, local law enforcement has enlisted the help of the FBI's Denver bureau, underscoring the gravity of the situation. The collaborative effort between the Englewood Police and federal agents highlights the importance of the painting not just to the family but to the nation's heritage. The theft is believed to have occurred on the night of January 10, during which unidentified culprits breached the storage unit's security.

Crystal Essman, a spokesperson for the Englewood Police Department, has been vocal about the need to protect the identity of the victim amidst the ongoing investigation. Details about the theft are still being pieced together, with authorities keeping a tight lid on information to ensure the integrity of their search for the culprits and the recovery of the painting.

A Call to Action from Law Enforcement

The Englewood Police Department took to social media to amplify their request for assistance, declaring, "We are asking for your help to find this national treasure!" Their posts have highlighted the painting's significance, noting its creation in the early 1800s and its depiction of George Washington, a foundational figure in American history.

Despite the painting's evident value, officials have decided not to disclose its monetary worth, pointing instead to its irreplaceable historical importance. This strategic decision, as explained by Essman to USA TODAY, aims to focus public attention on the artwork's cultural significance rather than on its potential market price.

Reward Offered for Vital Information

In an effort to encourage tips that could lead to the painting's recovery, Metro Denver Crime Stoppers has announced a reward of up to $2,000. This incentive, coupled with the option for tipsters to remain anonymous, aims to gather crucial information from the public. Authorities have provided a hotline, 1-800-CALL-FBI, and an online platform for tips, ensuring multiple avenues for community members to contribute to the painting's safe return.

The collaborative effort to retrieve the painting showcases the shared responsibility between law enforcement and the public in preserving national heritage. As the investigation continues, the emphasis remains on safeguarding the victim's identity and the historical artifact itself.

Historical Significance and Community Effort

As the search intensifies, the incident has sparked a broader conversation about the protection of cultural and historical artifacts. The theft of such an item not only deprives a family of a cherished heirloom but also robs the nation of a piece of its history.

The involvement of the FBI alongside local police underscores the severity with which this case is being treated. It's a rare instance where the theft of an object transcends its material value, becoming a matter of national concern. The painting, by capturing the likeness of George Washington, holds a mirror to the country's past, serving as a tangible link to its founding ideals.

A Nationwide Appeal for Assistance

The call for help in recovering the stolen painting has resonated across the country, reaching beyond the borders of Colorado. It's a testament to the collective value placed on historical preservation and the lengths to which communities and law enforcement will go to safeguard their cultural heritage. The painting's significance, coupled with its age and the circumstances of its theft, has galvanized a widespread effort to ensure its return.

In conclusion, the theft of the 200-year-old painting of George Washington from a Colorado storage unit has mobilized a comprehensive search effort by both the Englewood Police Department and the FBI. With the painting being a valued family heirloom and a piece of national heritage, the public's assistance is crucial in its recovery. Authorities remain focused on protecting the victim's identity while urging anyone with information to come forward. The reward offered by Metro Denver Crime Stoppers underscores the community's commitment to recovering this "national treasure." As the investigation proceeds, the hope is that public engagement will lead to a breakthrough, restoring not only a piece of art but a fragment of American history to its rightful place.

Written By:
Mae Slater

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