Neal and Peter make a house call when an extremely valuable work by the painter Haustenberg is stolen from a Manhattan residence. The owner, 22-year-old Julianna Laszlo, inherited the house and the painting from her grandmother, not knowing how much it was worth. Neal thinks her uncle Gary may be responsible.
Gary lawyers up quickly, but that doesn't stop Neal from confronting the jumpy stock trader. As it turns out, Gary was just a tipster working for a small cut. The real thief? Gerard Dorsett, a high-end loan shark with a very violent side. Dorsett had been trying to unload the Haustenberg all over town, so Peter sets up a sting operation at a high-end gallery with Neal posing as a prospective buyer. But the sting goes sour, and when Dorsett smells the trap, the wary thief escapes with the painting and one hundred thousand dollars of the FBI's money.
Needless to say, Peter's bosses are pissed. And to make matters worse, the curator from the Channing Museum shows up. Apparently, the painting actually belongs to the museum. Did Julianna's grandmother steal the Haustenberg first? The only way to set the story straight is for Neal and Peter to recover the painting. The problem is, Dorsett went underground, and the only lead Peter and Neal have to follow is the first name of a girlfriend - not much when a priceless painting and FBI money are at stake.