Suspects Identified in Art Theft

A former Harvard Medical School professor and his business partner have been identified as suspects in connection with an alleged art theft case that they brought to the attention of police, and are being investigated for allegedly failing to cooperate with authorities.

Retired Harvard oncologist Ralph Kennaugh and business partner Angelo B. Amadio claimed upwards of $27 million worth of art was stolen from the condo they rented in Pebble Beach, Calif. in a police report filed September 25.

But despite repeated requests for information about the art from the Monterey County Police Department, Amadio and Kennaugh have not responded to inquiries, according to Sheriff Commander Mike Richards, who heads the department.

Richards said Kennaugh and Amadio’s silence has led Richards and his department to suspect something is amiss.

“They are not responding to our request for help, but they are doing media interviews,” Richards said. “It’s all turning into some kind of circus.” He said police suspect “it’s a scam,” adding, “we just don’t know what type yet.”


Amadio protested Richards’s assertions that he and Kennaugh were behaving suspiciously in an interview with the Associated Press.

“We’re just dumbfounded by what the sheriff is saying,” Amadio told the AP. “Why would anyone in their right mind make this up?”

Amadio did not reply to repeated requests for comment from The Crimson. Kennaugh could not be reached for comment.

Kennaugh recently retired from his post as an oncologist at HMS and his appointment at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston. Kennaugh and Amadio had over 100 pieces in their collection, according to Amadio, and works by Matisse, Rembrandt, Miro, Renoir, and Pollock are among the art that the two allege was stolen.

A Pollock painting most recently valued at $20 million—but that Amadio suggested could be worth up to $80 million—is the most valuable painting of those reported missing, according to The Boston Globe. The set of allegedly stolen artwork, numbering between 25 and 30, was stacked in the hallway of the condo when it was taken, according to Amadio.

Amadio also told the Globe that computer files from his and Kennaugh’s laptops were stolen as well.

The Monterey County police department is still actively investigating the case, seeking out witnesses and information. The basic facts of the case—including how many pieces of art were stolen, the valuation of each piece, insurance information, and whether the art in question actually exists—have not been answered, Richards said.The department is seeking out potential motives Kennaugh and Amadio might have had for filing an erroneous claim. Amadio told the AP that the art stolen was only insured for $72,000.

“They are not answering questions, cooperating with detectives, or providing us with identifying information on the stolen property,” said Richards. “We just don’t know [what happened], but something is not right.”

—Julia Ryan contributed to the reporting of this story.

—Staff writer Elyssa A.L. Spitzer can be reached at spitzer@fas.harvard.