This past week, the Post has had a series of articles about the 28 year old woman who seemed to be on the run and used a variety of identities, most recently in the New York area, to get by. Esther Elizabeth Reed attended Columbia using the name of a missing woman (which set off some alarms) and she might be in espionage, based on what an ex-boyfriend's father observed (she wanted them to launder money! she got a nose job! calls from Europe!). Today's article has Reed's father weigh in: "I got a phone call from her when she was living on other people's credit cards, and she said, 'Dad, I'm going to be doing things that you don't approve of - things that are not in your value system.'" Which might include forging her sister's checks. An old teacher described her as "never happy with who she was." While Reed doesn't seem to be doing anything illegal (aside from using other people's identities and still being wanted for the check forging in Seattle), her story is very strange.
Which brings us to another crime story today. The Department of Investigations has found that a moving contractor and his mother-in-law stole Picasso drawings from a dead man's apartment and tried to sell them. It's a big deal that Nahum Kohen was stealing from customers, but the twist is that the drawings were taken from someone who had stolen paintings himself. The deceased "owner" was William Kingsland, who the NY Sun called a "City Gazetteer" and was a member of Community Board 8 as well as an "a prodigious researcher and avocational genealogist." Kingsland had the air of a Wasp, but it turned out that Kingsland was really Melvyn Kohn, born in the Bronx, who changed his name when he was 17. And Kingsland's of fair amount of art, which included a Giacometti bust, many found in his apartment after his death turned out to be either missing or stolen. (Two paintings belonging to Harvard were returned.)
The mover and his mother-in-law were caught by accident: The Public Administrator was auctioning off Kingsland's belongings and found that the two drawings were missing after being moved from the Upper East Side to the PA warehouse downtown. While investigating Kingsland's other stolen property, the FBI was told that someone - Lellouch - had tried to sell the Picasso drawings through a broker. Kohen's lawyer says he's innocent, which is interesting since Kohen does seem like the only way his mother-in-law could have gotten the drawings to sell. The NY Times says that it's believed Kingsland did not have Picasso drawings illegally.