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Evanston couple duct-taped, artwork stolen from home

Ronald Fink Evanst| Phoby Stefano Esposito

Ronald Fink, of Evanston | Photo by Stefano Esposito

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Updated: May 15, 2012 8:11AM



The robbers who made off with three paintings from Ronald Fink’s Evanston home Friday morning, left the 67-year-old bloodied and bruised, and his wife recovering from a heart attack in a hospital bed.

But just a few hours later, Fink stood on his walkway, cradling an unlit cigarette. The New York City native let out a raspy chuckle.

“You buy these paintings with the idea that this guy is going to be the next Picasso,” Fink said. “It didn’t turn out that way.”

For sure, the mystery of just how the robbers knew their victims owned some original artwork lingered Friday night, but Fink said he took some pleasure in knowing the thugs had made off with paintings probably worth a total of less than $10,000.

Fink and the Evanston police suspect the robbers somehow knew that Fink had sold another painting at auction in New York last year for more than $300,000, and then assumed he had others like it.

He didn’t. Fink said most of the pieces came from his late father, who had been a collector of surrealist art.

“He had at one time, one of the best private collections in the city of Chicago,” Fink said.

As Fink — who spent many years in the wholesale furniture business — bragged about being a tough kid from New York Friday evening, he also said he felt “dumb” for buying the ruse the robbers used to get into his home. The robbers — “two kids,” Fink called them — told him they were delivery men, there to drop off a package at his home, in the 2200 block of Central Street.

But as soon as they got inside, the robbers attacked Fink and his wife Bonita, a retired Chicago Public Schools teacher.

One of the robbers “threw me to the floor and literally jumped me, and he proceeded to duct tape my hands and feet,” Fink said. “Meanwhile, they were attacking my wife.”

Fink said the robbers said very little, and that the whole episode lasted perhaps 10 minutes. After the robbers fled, Bonita Fink managed to free her duct-taped hands. She got some scissors and cut her husband’s bindings.

Fink explained the ordeal Friday evening, as he prepared to head to Evanston Hospital, where his wife of 41 years was recovering from a mild heart attack, he said.

But Fink was in good enough spirits to stoop down and kiss the hand of a female TV reporter.

“It’s gonna take more than what these kids dished out this morning to shoot down an old New York City kid,” he said.

The offenders were described as white or Hispanic males, police said. One had a stocky build and was wearing a red and white shirt with black pants. The second man was wearing dark clothing, possibly a black shirt and pants. No description was given for the third offender. It is believed they were in a small white box-style truck that may have been rented from Budget.

Anyone with information about the robbery should call Evanston police at (847) 866-5000 or (847) 866-5040.



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