No crook gets the better of Dick Tracy, but someone has stolen valuable original panels of the famous syndicated cartoon strip from the Museum of Cartoon Art.

A number of Tracy panels were willed to the museum by the creator of the jut-jawed champion of law and order, Chester Gould, who died in 1985.Museum director Barbara Hammond said Friday that because of press reports and rumors within the cartoon art community, she was confirming that Gould strips are missing, but she declined to say how many or what they depicted. Nor would she say how many panels Gould had left the museum or how they had been displayed.