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11-year old discovered, bought and returned stolen art to rightful owner

An 11-year old boy, Matt Hanna became an instant hero when he put his intelligence to good use by discovering a stolen painting 7 years after it was reported stolen. He could just well be the youngest investigator when he identified, bought and returned a stolen Reet Herder painting to its rightful owner.

The painting was reportedly in August 2005 from the Fort Langley art gallery and it was among the 17 pieces of paintings missing then. Herder was at that time displaying her paintings in a rail car gallery operated by the Langley Heritage Society together with artists Lora Armbruster and Gwen Murphy.

According to Matt’s father, Steve Cant, his son believes in doing the right thing by returning the art work to Herder who thanked the boy for returning her work, one of those that she thought would have been lost forever. The value for the artworks that were stolen was believed to be between $2,000 and $10,000 and since the theft; she had not seen any of her paintings while another artist found one.

Matt had cultivated the hobby of buying and selling when he visited garage sales and auctions with his father and his late grandfather where he started making a handsome sum for things he bought and then sold later. It was through these ventures that he came across the painting ‘Harbouring Great Memories’ that depicted sail boats resting in a cove and upon conducting his own research, which he usually does, he found out that it was stolen property and suggested to buy it and retuning it. He then bought it for $65 while the owners at the Big Valley decided to fork out half the amount to help him.

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