A Con man conned

Kate's death leaves Neal Caffrey heartbroken and he buries himself in his work for the FBI. When Peter presents him with a new case of a stolen masterpiece from a New York penthouse, Neal thinks he's found the perfect distraction. Central Park, a beautiful woman, art and and an old enemy..it all sounds too good to be true. But as he should know, not everything is always as it seems and this time the con man may have met his match.


2. The girl with the locket

The elevator took them to the top floor of the Park Avenue apartment building. "Alright, what have we got here?" Peter asked the C.S.I. officer standing closest to him, flashing him his badge. "Robbery, three paintings stolen. Two in here and one in the dining room. So far we haven't been able to lift a single print but we're still working on it." The man smiled at Neal and returned to dusting the mantle. "If you're looking for the owner, she is in the dining room over there," he added and pointed in the general direction. "Thanks, officer" Neal said, glancing over to his partner who was already reaching for his notepad. "Three paintings?" Neal asked while walking into the dining room. From the moment he entered the penthouse he noticed some priceless works of art, Monet, Vermeer or more contemporary pieces. It was quite an imposing an eclectic collection that peaked Neal's interest. "What do you know about the pieces that were stolen? Who were the artist?" he asked Peter with sincere interest. "Two Monets and a Haustenberg" a woman's voice replied.

The woman turned around to face Peter and Neal and smiled while she extended her hand. "Rebeccah Donnely, I am the owner. And you must be the FBI officers. I hope you can find my paintings." Peter smiled reassuring. "We can't make any promises but we will do our best. I'm Peter Burke and this is Neal Caffrey. Can you tell us when you discovered the paintings were gone? Were there any signs of forced entry?" The mentioning of his name made Neal break his stare. "Yes, uhm..was there anything unusual about that day? People in the building that you hadn't seen before? Anything you can think of could be important." Peter arched a brow looking at his partner. If he didn't know better, he would think that Neal was nervous but quickly dismissed that thought. 
"No, nothing I can think of. I went to class like I do every day but when I came back I noticed the paintings were gone. The Monets are terrible but this one really breaks my heart." Rebeccah pointed to an empty space on the wall where the outline of the painting was still visible. "It was a Haustenberg and with great sentimental value. My grandmother left it to me and it's one of the few things I had left of her." Peter nodded while he wrote it all down. "We will need a list of anyone that had access to this apartment. Cleaning ladies, doorman, someone that watered the plants.. And there is one more thing, I understand this particular painting received some interest lately? Someone attempted to purchase it?" Rebeccah nodded slowly as she reached for the business card that was on the table. "Yes. Mister Adler made a few inquiries to see if the painting was for sale. He didn't exactly take no for an answer and upped the price several times to well above market value. But I told him no. Sentimental value, you see?" she smiled at Neal.

"I completely understand" Neal answered. "It's hard parting with something so beautiful," taking the business card from her hands. It was strange seeing Adler's name on the card, his former boss and the man that was most likely behind Kate's death. A feeling of anger flared up and he swallowed hard to regain control. "Do you have a picture of the paintings? That would be very helpful." He gave her a small smile and handed the card to Peter. Rebeccah nodded and Neal watched her as she left to get the pictures. Peter frowned looking at Neal. "Are you okay?" Neal shrugged. "Why wouldn't I be? Don't worry, Peter. I'm not going to fall apart just because Adler's name came up. I'm fine" he lied. Luckily Rebeccah returned before Peter could ask him anything else. "I had these taken for insurance purposes" Rebeccah pondered. "Never thought I would actually have to use them" she sighed handing them over to Neal. He whistled between his teeth when he saw the Monets. "The Waterlilies? I'm impressed. Did you know that just between 1899 and 1900 he made at least 18 paintings with the Waterlily theme?" Looking at Peter and Rebeccah's surprised faces he shrugged. "What? I happen to like Waterlilies." Peter coughed and took the photo of the Haustenberg from Neal. "So this must be the Haustenberg." The picture showed a young blond girl, wearing a gold locked around her neck. "Girl with the locket" Rebeccah replied, giving Peter a smirk. "Of course. That makes sense" Taking the photos and adding them to the file. 

"Well, if we have any more questions we will know how to contact you. And if there is anything that you remember, no matter how small, feel free to call us." Peter handed her his Bureau business card. "Thank you, we will see ourselves out. Coming Neal?" Neal smiled sheepishly at Rebeccah. "It was nice meeting you. And agent Burke is right, feel free to call if you have questions." Giving her one last smile he followed his partner out.  

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