160M Dollar Painting and D.B. Cooper.

Say half in earnest, half in wondert, I reposted on Twitter the article introducing the Willem de Kooning stolen painting and the mystery of its discovery in the possession of a humble small town Arizona couple’s bedroom, provoking people to consider the picture of the couple (photographed therein)  and the remarkable resemblance of the man to D.B. Cooper.

The 160M dollar painting “Woman in Ochre” was stolen on Thanksgiving 1985 by a couple who committed a genuinely high-risk heist in an art museum. The woman waylaid the guard with questions while the man went into the display room and cut the painting out. They sped off in a red sportscar.

The man was said to be about 54 years old. The woman was younger.

Go back in time to Thanksgiving (Eve) 1971. D.B. Cooper, said to be about 40 years old, makes the high risk heist of skyjacking Northwest Orient’s local milk run flight from Portland to Seattle. He extorts 200K from Northwest, takes off with the crew as the sole passenger and somewhere before Portland, as the airliner flew back south, jumps out of the plane and is never seen again.

Rumors persisted that at La Center, Washington, a small plane was seen days before the skyjacking to make landings in a field, answering the signals of the headlights of a car. Was this a rehearsal for escape? Did Cooper have an accomplice?

D. B. Cooper planned the skyjacking meticulously. He told the captain how to fly the plane with its flaps down at the right angle, and knew that of all airliners this one in particular had a rear door that could be opened in flight. From there he bailed out never to be seen again.

The couple who had the 160M de Kooning, Jerry Alter and Rita Alter, kept meticulous records. On their public school pay they had traveled around the world to 140 countries, and had about 1 million bucks in their bank account. They lived a quiet, private life, and never spoke much with the other residence of the small town.

Jerry Alter also looked remarkably like D.B. Cooper.

So what do you think?  Do you think the link should at least be looked into?

*         *        *

Since 1990 Gian J. Quasar has investigated a broad range of mysterious subjects, from strange disappearances to serial murders, earning in that time the unique distinction of being likened to “the real life Kolchak.” However, he is much more at home with being called The Quester or Q Man. “He’s bloody eccentric, an historian with no qualifications who sticks his nose into affairs and gets results.” He is the author of several books, one of which inspired a Resolution in Congress.


3 thoughts on “160M Dollar Painting and D.B. Cooper.

  1. I believe the Alters were up to something. Jerry “retired” from teaching at age 47 while his wife continued to work as a speech pathologist in New Mexico. The could have made it work had they lived frugally but they didn’t. They built a dream house, not a mansion but lots of nice ( and expensive touches) and they traveled every summer. Jerry referred to it as “ adventure travel”. Not Five Stare hotel travel, but it would suggest it wasn’t on the cheap either. Then there was that Million Dollar bank account.

    I don’t have all the details of their finances but I can find no indication of “family money” or any kind of business or active investing that may have generated income. The money came from somewhere.
    I think there was some illegal activity going on that they appear to have gotten away with. Since the DB Cooper job was the only unsolved hijacking, that probably wasn’t it. Jerry does sure look like the composite (do we know how tall Jerry was? I get the impression he was short but I haven’t seen a number). If the is any indication that Jerry was a proficient parachutist, I would be very interested.


  2. I agree! I just came across this article on the Alters today. I thought he would have been the same age as D.B Cooper. Lo and behold their descriptions match. The composite sketch looks like Jerry Alter. The alters kept meticulous notes on their whereabouts. It would easy to either prove or disprove this theory. We just need the planners to see where he was thanksgiving of 71. Sounds familiar right? Thanksgiving of 1985….


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s