Update: I’m getting trickles of information everywhere: email, dm, tweets, etc. Please “like” my Facebook page to join in/follow. I’ll try to direct all conversation there.
Forget the long lines at the malls. I hope the expression “Black Friday” takes on a different connotation for one thief, who’s been on the run for over thirty years. With this post, I’m announcing a reward for the return of a priceless object taken from my dorm room between 1978 and 1980. I was living in Eliot House at Harvard College.
Even if you have no direct knowledge of the theft, I ask that you re-tweet this post or share it on Facebook—because somewhere, someplace, somebody knows the whereabouts of a missing treasure. And I sincerely believe that nothing can remain secret in these days of e-mail, social media, and the Internet.
Background on the Reward: I’m researching art theft for a Grove O’Rourke thriller. Priceless by Robert K. Whitman and John Shiffman is an excellent read. So is The Art of the Heist by Myles J. Connor and Jenny Siler. Each book, one written from the perspective of the FBI and one from the perspective of a thief, describes how authorities turned to rewards when they had no clues about a case. I’m taking a page from their playbooks.
Priceless Object in my Dorm Room: Okay, okay. I know the description sounds hyperbolic. My mother spent twelve months knitting a large, crimson blanket with a big white H on it (Harvard colors). I think Vermeer completed thirty-five paintings during his lifetime. My mother knitted only one H blanket, and it is priceless to me.
The Heist: After returning from the Christmas holidays, I pinned the blanket to my bedroom wall. Several weeks later, my roommates and I hosted a party in our C-entry suite just over the Eliot House library. Everybody was welcome. Everybody had the run of our rooms. I never thought twice about a theft during our open house.
The night in question, I was mixing daiquiris in our common area. I walked into my bedroom at one point and noticed a guy sitting near my desk, alone, either buzzed or high or out of it—or so I thought. He had dark hair and wore glasses. I did not recognize him and am not sure whether he attended Harvard. He seemed suspicious. But I didn’t notice whether the blanket was missing. We spoke for a few minutes, and I forgot about him until the next day when I discovered the theft.
Reward: If your information leads to the return of my blanket, I’ll take you and another guest out to the restaurant of your choice in the city of your choice anywhere in the United States. Just to be clear—I’m not paying for airfare. But if you and your guest want to meet at a fish house in Hawaii, or any other US location, I’m picking up the dinner tab.
I promise to be a charming and engaging host. And who knows? Maybe we can work one of your ideas into a novel—a discussion to be continued during a fun meal and perhaps a glass of wine or two.
Other: No questions asked. I’m not interested in prosecuting anybody. I just want the blanket back.
Like I said before—the Internet is a great equalizer for fighting theft. Sure, there are spectacular thefts that go unsolved for long periods of time. The Gardner heist may be the most notorious.
But I’m optimistic. Two books inspired me to re-open this cold case, and with your help I think we’ll find that missing blanket. Thank you in advance for your participation.