Thieves steal art work from Hampstead home of dead father

TWO cold-hearted thieves left a grieving son devastated after they stole thousands of pounds worth of precious items from his deceased father’s house in Hampstead.

Among the possessions the callous pair took was a valuable painting by German Artist Uri Lesser, whose artwork can sell for up to �10,000. They also smuggled out two boxes of porcelain dinner plates and an antique clock.

But the son of the victim, who preferred not to be named, said the goods meant so much more to his family than their monetary value.

“This painting has been in the family since my father bought it in Hampstead 40 years ago, and it is of massive personal and sentimental value to me,” he said.

“It is incredibly sad to have something like that taken from you and it can never be replaced.”

The burglary is viewed as a particularly heartless because it was carried out just five months after the elderly owner of the targeted property died. Prior to his death, the 90-year-old victim had lived in Hampstead for more than six decades after moving to Britain from Berlin.

The two crooks had managed to get into his house by posing as scrap metal removers. It is believed they were let in by another person who had been tasked with clearing out the rooms while the victim’s family were away.

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His son only realised that something was wrong on his return when he spotted that his father’s clock had been replaced by a much cheaper replica and called the police.

Barnet Police have now released an image of the stolen painting in the hope that anyone who has come across it will contact them so it can be recovered.

The Met’s specialist art and antique crime unit are making additional enquiries by scouring the online art auctions to check if the picture is already up for sale.

PC Kiki Saunders, the investigating officer in the case, said: “Having anything stolen from you is a deeply unpleasant experience, but when the things stolen belonged to a departed relative it makes the crime even more despicable as they are irreplaceable in both essence and sentimental value.

“We are hoping that anyone who sees such an item for sale or is offered one of the items pictured, or may have already bought one of them will come forward swiftly and let us know.”

o Anyone with any information about this crime, or who spots the item in the picture is asked to call police on 0300 123 1212 or Crime stoppers on 0800 555 111, quoting reference number 2406143/11.