Cast your mind, or mouse cursor, back, oh reader and you’ll discover that we covered the rather sensational theft of a Renoir painting a couple of months ago. The Renoir painting Madeleine Leaning On Her Elbow With Flowers In Her Hair was taken from the home of an art dealer after the homeowner was held up at gunpoint by an armed robber just after 10pm on September 8 in Texas, U.S.A. Well, do we have news for you, of sorts: a reward for information leading to its recovery has doubled to $50,000, with investigators stumped as to exactly where the painting is now, or who was responsible.

One major problem facing the thief is that it would be extremely difficult for him or her to sell the oil painting. High-valued artwork means high attention, and for the most part, rich people buy expensive art to show it off: follow the logic and it means rich people don’t want to buy art that they can’t show off, and indeed, art that would land them in a spot of legal bother. In fact, a statistically analysis of stolen art has found that nearly 100% of all stolen art  - and this excludes artwork that is specially ordered to be stolen – fails to find a buyer.

Another reason why the thief should be sweating bullets is the officials assigned to hunt the painting down: John Bedingfield, the Houston Police Department robbery division sergeant with 20 years of experience and Bob Wittman, a former F.B.I. agent famous for his exploits in the recovery of stolen artefacts, among them an original copy of the Bill of Rights and the golden armour of an ancient Peruvian king. The two have combined forces to track down the bandit, who would most certainly be hoping for a couple of rookies instead (media attention has, of course, denied that possibility).

So exactly where is the case at? Wittman told local news media that it could take a while to locate the artwork, as thieves often simply stored stolen oil paintings for years, waiting for the heat to die down. The doubling of the reward, however, has meant a surge of public interest. Sgt Bedingfield said he had received tips from all over city, including one from a driver at a carwash after he heard a suspicious conversation between two men talking about the Renoir painting. So far nothing has panned out, but hopefully the Renoir painting will find its way back to the rightful owner.