A bare space on the wall next to the bar in the Flow Restaurant in Jim Thorpe was the first indication that something was amiss at least to Dawn McKeegan, a part-time employee who, while cleaning the restaurant Tuesday morning noticed that a painting was missing.
"The painting, BEHAVE, isn't on the wall," she said to artist and restaurant owner Victor Stabin. "The BEHAVE painting's gone."
Stabin asked his wife and the restaurant staff but none had seen the painting. He soon came to the conclusion that it must have been stolen, probably sometime on Monday, June 27. That day, the restaurant was closed and Stabin had left town at 10 a.m. to take his mother home, and returned at 6:30 p.m.
Stabin's wife, Joan Morykin, remembered seeing a red truck pull into the rear parking lot, stop briefly, and then leave, not enough time to steal the painting but enough time to pick up the four foot by four foot painting if someone had previously taken it and moved it to the back door.
Stabin, who is credited with designs for nine U.S. Postal stamps and numerous illustrations in major magazines, rarely sells his original artwork. Instead, he makes digital copies of his works and sells the prints. A signed full size print could sell in the $1,000 range.
The last time an original vivid-colored painting by Stabin was sold at auction, and that was 10 years ago, it was sold for $15,000. The painting had been the original of a popular album cover for the band, KISS.
"It had fan appeal but I personally thought this (BEHAVE) was a better piece," Stabin noted.
BEHAVE is an acrylic painting on a sheet of scroll-cut plywood. The illustration features a brunette wearing a sci-fi pointed bra and wielding a ray gun set upon an orange background with the word BEHAVE written across the upper left, with all figures glowing green from the energy of the ray gun.