Kinkade paintings worth $300K stolen in Fresno

CLOVIS, Calif.

A former Old Town Clovis shop owner lost about $300 thousand worth of Thomas Kinkade paintings and other artwork.

Patrick Patterson can trace the steps of the burglars who stole hundreds of thousands of dollars in artwork from him.

They left behind a haphazard mess, but their criminal approach seems more refined. They grabbed mostly pieces from well-known artists.

A display case full of art was untouched, except for one empty shelf formerly filled with popular Hummel figurines, and Thomas Kinkade paintings were the top target.

"Look at that. That's not a Kinkade. It's a Chinese painting and they left that," Patterson said. "So evidently they had some discrimination."

40 Kinkade paintings are gone, and local art dealers are on alert for limited edition prints.

The thieves also took some more unusual art, and burn marks next to an empty space show where they tried to burn open an art safe, then decided to just carry it away.

Fresno Police are looking under different rocks than the ones they normally check after burglaries.

Sgt. Mark Hudson said, "Art dealers, maybe other people out there who deal in stolen property that other people might alert us, Craigslist."

Patterson is a former Clovis Police officer himself, and he collected some evidence he hopes will help solve the crime -- like an energy drink left in the building. But he's afraid, like many burglars, the accidental art thieves who stole from him will go unpunished.

"It appears to me the thieves have a free rein," Patterson said. "They can come through and victimize honest, hard-working citizens."

That may not be the case, though. Fresno Police investigators tell me they're closing in on some potential suspects and the case could be solved soon.

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