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May 21st, 2013

Posted In: art and money laudering, art theft

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April 30th, 2013

Posted In: art theft, Museum thefts

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April 14th, 2013

Posted In: algemeen, art theft, Art Theft General

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March 29th, 2013

Posted In: art theft

ArtSlant – A Brief and Incomplete History of Stolen, Lost, and Destroyed Works of Art

March 29, 2013

A work of art that’s been stolen attains a tantalizing aura of mystery, a legendary status that grows with each hour of absence. A destroyed or a lost work of art can sometimes attain that level of mythos, as long as we are aware of its significance before it’s disappeared. But most art, in fact, most of the art that has ever been made throughout history, is simply lost and forgotten, and we don’t even realize it. Ancient art that was intended to last for eternity is slowly eroding, and contemporary artists now incorporate ephemerality into their works in acceptance of the fact that nothing lasts forever…

75,000 years ago: All the artworks made by people around this time have been destroyed or are lost. Besides some drilled snail shells that were found in a cave in South Africa, everything else is probably gone or stuck in a rock or underground somewhere.

40,000 years ago: Some petroglyphs remain, but maybe some art works that are still extant we don’t even recognize as art because we don’t know how to interpret them.


ArtSlant – A Brief and Incomplete History of Stolen, Lost, and Destroyed Works of Art.

March 29th, 2013

Posted In: art theft

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January 30th, 2012

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January 30th, 2012

Posted In: art theft, art theft central, Art Theft General, Museum thefts

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January 28th, 2012

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January 27th, 2012

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August 2nd, 2011

Posted In: art theft, Art Theft General, Mailing list reports

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February 11th, 2011

Posted In: art theft, fakes and forgeries, insider theft, Museum thefts

What do thieves do with art once they’ve stolen it? This is one of the key questions asked in this CNN interview with Chris Marinello from The Art Loss Register. Marinello states these are frequently crimes of opportunity and usually are not done with a specific buyer in mind.
Those who purchase stolen art are frequently unaware, whether willfully ignorant or innocently oblivious. This is why Marinello argues the importance of registering stolen artworks and suggests collectors check the database before purchasing works as well. Many artworks are not entered into the database, which is why as little as 1-5% of stolen art is ever recovered.
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December 28th, 2010

Posted In: art theft, Mailing list reports

PARIS — At least this much is clear: the art — 271 previously unknown sketches, watercolors and collages — is indeed the work of Picasso. But despite several weeks of accusations, counterclaims and deepening investigations, the mystery at the core of the case of Picasso and the electrician seems no closer to being solved.

Pierre Le Guennec, 71, a sickly retiree who did electrical work for the artist in the 1970s, says the works — worth an estimated $80 million — were a gift from his employer decades ago. Six relatives of Picasso suspect otherwise, and in September they filed a request for an investigation into whether the art had been stolen. Soon after, the police seized the works from Mr. Le Guennec’s home in Mouans-Sartoux, in the South of France.
A preliminary police investigation ensued; on Dec. 13 the case went to the next step when a magistrate in the area opened a judicial investigation to explore the possibility of “possession of stolen goods.” (No criminal charges have been filed.)

full text:

December 26th, 2010

Posted In: art fraud, art theft, Art Theft General

Arty walkthrough


Courtesy of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston Priceless collection: The museum
A famous art heist left a few walls in Boston’s Isabella Stewart Gardner museum stark empty, but that has not deterred tourists from visiting the place even today…

If your name is Isabella, chances are you will be given a royal welcome and a free entry into a charming and unique museum in Boston in the U.S. No, my name is not Isabella but I heeded the advice of a friend who said I must visit this unique museum. The Isabella Stewart Gardner museum sits quietly in Fenway, in Boston, a place reclaimed from a smelly swamp and made into an upmarket, much sought-after area. Not many tourists visit the Isabella Stewart Museum but it is worth a visit.

No changes

Isabella was a society woman in the late 1800s, who shocked the Boston purists with her unconventional behaviour. She collected precious art and created a home for these collections. Her will stipulated that nothing should be changed, exchanged, sold or added to the galleries. As a result, the walls still remain empty even after the great robbery. In 1990, two men came at midnight disguised as policemen, handcuffed the guards on duty and in 81 minutes ripped a Vermeer, three Rembrandts — including his only seascape, five Degas drawings, and a Monet from their wall placements. This was one of the biggest art heists in history.

Over the years, the theft has produced many books and articles about who pulled it off. There is a reward of $ 5million for anyone who can help get the art works back in an undamaged condition. Now the statute of limitations has passed for prosecution of the theft itself and the attorney in Boston now says he will not prosecute anyone who has the paintings and offers to return them.

Since the discovery of the theft, the FBI and private detectives have tracked hundreds of leads and dealt with dozens of intermediaries for individuals who contend they can lead investigators to the missing artwork. Invariably, the trails have come to dead ends, as information could not be corroborated or tipsters proved to be fakers, with an eye only for the reward money of $ 5 million. In late April 1994, the museum received a message that Gardner officials regarded as the most promising lead ever in the case. An anonymous letter writer said he could facilitate the return of the paintings in exchange for $2.6 million and full immunity from prosecution for the thieves and those who held the paintings. Because the overture involved a request for immunity from prosecution, the museum turned the letter, postmarked in New York, over to the FBI. The letter writer showed considerable knowledge of the paintings and of the international art world. He said the stolen paintings were being stored in archival conditions, and had not yet been sold. The writer proposed a clandestine way for the museum to respond. If the Gardner was open to negotiating a ransom deal, it should send a signal by arranging to have the numeral “1” inserted in the US-foreign dollar exchange listing for the Italian lira that would be published in The Boston Sunday Globe on May 1, 1994. And, in fact, that Sunday, the numeral “1” was listed a few spaces in front of the actual US dollar exchange rate for the lira.

Matthew V. Storin, editor of The Globe in 1994, said he was told of the letter’s contents and agreed to insert the numeral — being careful not to make the currency listing itself inaccurate — at the request of Richard S. Swensen, the special agent in charge of the FBI Boston office.

The following week, the museum received a second letter. The letter writer was encouraged to see that the museum was interested in negotiating an exchange but was alarmed by the aggressive reaction by federal, state, and local law enforcement. “Right now I need time to both think and start the process to insure confidentiality of the exchange.” And then he never wrote to the museum again.

Investigators have also sought clues to the identity of the thieves in the particular objects they stole, and those they left behind. They wonder, for example, why the men took pen-and-ink sketches by Degas from the Short Gallery and left behind a far more valuable Michelangelo nearby. The motion detectors also show that the thieves never bothered to go to the museum’s third floor, where the most valuable piece in the museum’s collection — Titian’s “Europa” — hangs. Where the paintings were, empty frames now fill the museum’s walls. But, while there is sadness at the loss, the museum has recovered, say regular visitors. The museum has become “the vibrant centre for the arts it was in Gardner’s day.”

Planned art

Isabella Stewart Gardner (April 14, 1840 – July 17, 1924) was a flamboyant woman. She was one of Boston’s most exciting figures, known in the society papers as “Mrs. Jack.” Her surprising appearance at a 1912 concert (at a very formal Boston Symphony) wearing a white headband emblazoned with “Oh, you Red Sox” was reported to have “almost caused a panic”. After her husband’s death in 1898, Gardner began work on her museum. She modelled it on the Renaissance palaces of Venice and Italy. The building surrounds a glass-covered garden courtyard, the first of its kind in the U.S. Gardner intended the second and third floors to be galleries. She lived on the fourth floor when in residence.

Gardner insisted that the galleries be designed as a palatial home, not a museum. She left a will in which she stipulated that the displays should never be altered. In one gallery is a painting of her, as she steps in from a balcony with her jewellery swaying in the movement. At the end of the visit, in the last gallery, is a beautiful painting of Isabella Stewart Gardner in a black dress. It looks like she placed herself there to take leave of the visitors to her home.

Keywords: Isabella Stewart Museum

October 3rd, 2010

Posted In: art theft, Museum thefts

1 October 2010 Last updated at 14:53 ET
Two antique lead statues stolen from Mortimer home

Two antique lead statues worth about £15,000 have been stolen from a Berkshire home.

Burglars got into the garden of the house in Mortimer Lane, Mortimer, before stealing the 5ft-high (1.5m) figures.

One is of a woman carrying a basket, which is worth about £12,000, while the other is of a mermaid, worth £3,000.

Police are appealing for witnesses to the thefts, which happened between Monday night and Tuesday morning.

October 3rd, 2010

Posted In: art theft

28 September 2010 Last updated at 11:56 ET
Winning artwork stolen from wall at Exeter exhibition

Ovation was one painting in a series of three on display at the exhibition
The winning piece of artwork in a Devon art exhibition has been stolen.

Henny Acloque’s Ovation was stolen from the wall of the gallery while it was open to the public on Saturday for the Exeter Contemporary Open.

Devon and Cornwall Police have been informed of the theft at the Exeter Phoenix in which the 10cm x 15cm painting went missing.

Gallery Curator Matt Burrows said the incident was “incredibly unusual” and that CCTV footage was being looked at.

Mr Burrows said: “Although it has financial value it’s not like something that could be stolen to sell, so it becomes a strange combination of someone who really likes it, who was prepared to do something so selfish.

“Unfortunately if someone is determined there’s very little beyond a certain point that we can do.

“This painting is very small and would not be easily noticeable so it may have been targeted.”

Artist Ms Acloque had been announced as the winner of the competition and won £1,000 in prize money.

Mr Burrows said: “She’s devastated because it’s one of a series of paintings and they work together and this was one of her favourite pieces.

He said he was hopeful that the incident was an “impulsive act” and that the painting would be returned to the art gallery or artist soon.

September 28th, 2010

Posted In: art theft

13th century slab of stone carving stolen from Goa

Panaji, Sep 17 – A historic one-metre-long stone slab with carvings of battle scene, dating back to the late 13th century, has been stolen from a remote village in north Goa. Only a museum could have stolen it, an archeology official said here Friday.

The state government has launched an investigation into the disappearance of the stone slab belonging to the late Kadamba period from Nagve village in north Goa. Nagve is 50 km from here.

‘We have started a probe into the incident. It is possible that a museum might have stolen the slab,’ M.S. Deshpande, assistant superintending archaeologist at the state department of archives and archaeology, told IANS.

The stone slab locally known as ‘Veer gal’ was erected in memory of a local hero who sacrificed his life in a battle.

Local villagers worshipped the slab as an object of strength and valour.

‘The stone slab also had a funeral scene which showed the unsung hero’s body with his wife poised to jump onto her husband’s pyre,’ conservationist and wildlife activist Rajendra Kerkar said.

The slab was last seen near Nagve village by a group of trekkers about a fortnight ago.

No case has been registered.


September 20th, 2010

Posted In: art theft

A Missing Painting Turns Up, but the Case Isn’t Closed


Published: September 15, 2010

Its discovery was nearly as strange as its disappearance.

For more than a month, the whereabouts of “Portrait of a Girl,” a painting by Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot of a young girl with a lace collar, a teal skirt and mournful eyes, has been shrouded in intrigue.

The circumstances surrounding its apparent loss led to a lawsuit that brought attention to a convicted art swindler who claimed ownership of the painting, an ex-con middleman who said he got drunk and lost the portrait, and a co-owner who sued him over the missing work. It then came to involve an F.B.I. agent who has a record of recovering stolen artworks.

A federal inquiry has begun, and one of the painting’s co-owners, the convicted art swindler, has been arrested on charges not directly related to the loss of the painting. But the essential mystery — what happened to the painting — remained unsolved.

Then, on Sunday, the artwork suddenly materialized — under the arm of a Fifth Avenue doorman, who took it to a police station house on the Upper East Side.

The doorman, Franklin Puentes, told the authorities that he had had the 19th-century portrait, which officials say was appraised recently at between $500,000 and $700,000, since the hours after it disappeared — tucked inside his locker, in the basement of the building where he works.

Mr. Puentes told the police that he had found the painting in the bushes outside that building, 995 Fifth Avenue, after arriving for his shift on July 29, the officials said.

He thought it might belong to a resident of the building and tried to find the owner, said one official, quoting from a police report that recounts Mr. Puentes’s visit to the 19th Precinct station house. But he had no success and safeguarded the artwork in his locker.

Some days later, he went on a three-week vacation, and a short time after he returned, he learned of news accounts of the missing Corot painting, the official said.

“I feel very bad; I have no comments,” Mr. Puentes said after work on Wednesday. “As far as I’m concerned, I did what the law required.”

Mr. Puentes’s account could lend some credence to the story told by the middleman, James Carl Haggerty, who, according to the lawsuit, said he had had too much to drink and lost the artwork after he had shown it to a potential buyer at the Mark Hotel on East 77th Street on July 28.

Mr. Puentes’s daughter, Felipina Castillo, 47, said her father was questioned by detectives for about seven hours after he brought the painting to the station house. While he was there, his wife called his cellphone.

“He tells her he’s being investigated by the police,” Ms. Castillo said. “He just mentioned something about a picture.”

She said that when Mr. Puentes returned from vacation in Florida, he spoke to a friend about the painting, and the friend told him about the media coverage of the missing Corot.

“He had no clue what he had in his hands,” Ms. Castillo said. “He’s very sad now. He’s a little worried.”

Investigators believe that Mr. Puentes, who has worked at 995 Fifth Avenue for 30 years, is telling the truth, several of the officials said. His building is on the corner of East 81st Street, about five blocks from the hotel where the painting was last seen with Mr. Haggerty.

Mr. Haggerty was captured on video surveillance footage leaving the hotel with the painting, which is a shade larger than 9 inches by 12 inches, about 12:50 a.m. on July 29, the lawsuit said. But video recordings of the lobby of his apartment building showed he did not have it when he arrived home about 2:30 a.m., according to the lawsuit, which was brought by Kristyn Trudgeon, who has identified herself as a co-owner of the painting.

Much remains unclear about the events surrounding the disappearance of the painting, as well as the filing of Ms. Trudgeon’s lawsuit — and its withdrawal — and the criminal investigation that grew out of the news articles generated by the litigation.

Ms. Trudgeon said she was not convinced that Mr. Haggerty was blameless.

“He left the painting on the side of the road?” she said on Wednesday. “Haggerty’s been lying through his teeth.”

The other co-owner of the painting, Thomas A. Doyle, was arrested last Thursday on federal wire fraud conspiracy charges, according to a criminal complaint filed in the case by James P. Wynne, a Federal Bureau of Investigation agent who pursues art theft and related crimes.

The complaint accuses Mr. Doyle of trying to defraud an investor in the painting and lying about its value, according to a news release announcing the charges, which were brought by the office of the United States attorney in Manhattan, Preet Bharara.

Ms. Trudgeon said she told Mr. Doyle, who is in federal custody, that the painting had been recovered.

“He said, ‘That’s the best news I’ve heard all day,’ ” she said.

She said she met Mr. Doyle in March and was unaware of his past until a few months ago. She described him in an earlier interview as “trying to make the straight and narrow.”

“I’m glad the painting is found,” she said on Wednesday. “I’m glad it’s not in the Dumpster.”

A version of this article appeared in print on September 16, 2010, on page A27 of the National edition.

September 16th, 2010

Posted In: art theft, law enforcement and investigation

Culture Minister: Van Gogh painting theft ‘no big deal’

Fathya el-Dakhakhni
Tue, 14/09/2010 – 21:18

Culture Minister Farouk Hosni on Tuesday downplayed the importance of the theft last month of Vincent Van Gogh’s “Poppy Flowers” painting from a Cairo museum, saying it was “not a big deal.”

“The Egyptian public is very emotional,” he said at a press conference at Cairo’s Al-Jazira Museum. “But the theft of a painting is not a big deal.”

Nor, Hosni added, did the ministry blame Mohsen Shaalan, head of its fine arts department–currently under investigation in connection with the theft–for the painting’s disappearance.

“The law will determine who’s right and who’s wrong,” said the minister. “He was involved in many other transgressions and we could have accused him of a lot more.”

“On 16 May, four paintings were stolen from the Modern Arts Museum in Paris, including a painting by Picasso, and nothing happened,” Hosni added. “No one called for the dismissal of the French culture minister. Investigations were launched and those responsible were punished.”

“Many countries lose valuables, but this doesn’t mean all Egyptian museums are in poor condition,” he said. “The Poppy Flowers case is now in the hands of the court, and its better we don’t speak about it so as not to influence ongoing investigations.”

“I was responsible for the creation and opening of the Mohamed Mahmoud Khalil Museum [from which the painting was stolen],” he said, noting that the museum had been “equipped with the most up-to-date security equipment available.”

“But its operation was the responsibility of museum administrators and of those who have proven themselves incapable of handling such a responsibility,” the minister added.

Hosni went on to say it would cost LE100,000 to repair the museum’s surveillance systems.

“There had been a plan to restore the museum, and the Al-Jazira Museum’s storage rooms had been ready since January to temporarily house the Mahmoud Khalil paintings until work had been completed,” he explained. “It was the administration’s responsibility, and they should have utilized the resources available to them.”

“Due to fears of individual negligence, we’re thinking about setting up a central control room in all Egyptian museums,” he added. “It will be costly, but we have no other choice if we want to avert cases of human negligence.”

The Minister went on to display a crate filled with Arabic calligraphy paintings known as “Khabiat al-Ghori.”

“There was much ado about the loss of these paintings, which include 80 Arabic calligraphy paintings,” he said. “But we eventually found them in the Al-Jazira Museum after inventory was taken.”

According to Hosni, the museum–which is home to some four million pieces of art–is currently being renovated at a cost of LE70 million, but would soon be reopened to the public.

The minister went on to criticize the Independent Conference of Intellectuals, which had called for his dismissal following the Van Gogh theft.

“No one should call themselves an intellectual,” he said. “An intellectual should be familiar with different cultures and be knowledgeable about all eras and phases of art history.”

Translated from the Arabic Edition.

September 15th, 2010

Posted In: art theft, law enforcement and investigation

Caddo Indian pottery missing from campus

By: Associated Press – Texarkana Gazette – Published: 09/14/2010
LITTLE ROCK—Four days into his new job at Southern Arkansas University, archaeologist Jamie Brandon learned that 26 pieces of Caddo Indian pottery were missing from the Magnolia campus.

Four years later, he’s still hoping they’ll surface.

The pots, bowls and bottles were to be returned to the Caddo tribe and were being packed for the transfer, Brandon said Monday. The items had been excavated from a 1980 dig known as Cedar Grove in Lafayette County. The Army Corps of Engineers was preparing to do levee work at the site, so artifacts and remains from the Caddo burial ground were removed for eventual return to the Caddo Nation.

The collection was outside the main artifact storage space when the theft happened in the summer of 2006. The exact date is not known.

“It was in a room by itself. Apparently, the thief did not have access to the larger collection,” said Brandon, Research Station archaeologist with the Arkansas Archeological Survey at the university.

Each piece is unique in that it was made by hand, not turned on a wheel. The thief selected whole pots, not fragments or vessels reconstructed from fragments. Judging by photographs, some were in pristine condition. They date to the mid-1500s, around the time Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto was in Arkansas.

The pots, packed with food and oils, had been buried with the dead to see them into the next life, Brandon said.

“These are sacred vessels to the people in the Caddo Nation,” he said.

The pots were dug from federal land owned by the Army Corps of Engineers, so the pots technically belonged to the federal government. The FBI was part of the investigation along with the Southern Arkansas University police.

Brandon said investigators have no suspect.

The pots were well-documented through drawings, measurements and photographs.

“I can literally tell you the number of millimeters between the lines on the pieces,” Brandon said.

The documentation, including an Internet posting with a detailed description of each pot, would make it difficult for the thief to move the pottery in a legitimate sale.

Brandon said if some or all of the collection is changing hands in the black market, a new buyer may not know the pottery was stolen. When that person tries to sell the pot in a legal, public sale, the fate of the collection could become known.

September 15th, 2010

Posted In: art theft

Police seek $7,500 painting stolen from 105-year-old

By Vivian Luk, Vancouver Sun July 24, 2010 Be the first to post a comment

The suspect who stole a painting from the room of a 105-year-old woman living in a Vancouver rest home.

As far as paintings go, the Manet-style Emile Zola portrait isn’t all that valuable. Measuring two feet by three feet, it’s worth an estimated $7,500.

But the oil painting, along with a framed 9 x 12-inch, black and white portrait of its owner at age 17, are “of great sentimental value” to owner Gertie Lerner and her family. Lerner is 105 years old and the portraits were stolen from her room at a west-side rest home.

Vancouver police believe the theft was targeted, and they also believe the thief was caught by surveillance cameras.

An unidentified woman was seen walking into the home on July 11 around 6 p.m., carrying a pot of flowers, a duffel bag and a large flat cardboard box, Const. Anne Longley said Friday.

The woman walked directly into the victim’s room, where she lingered for no more than four minutes.

Video surveillance shows her leaving the building with the box and shoulder bag, but without the flowers, which were left behind in the room. The theft was discovered a day later when a relative noticed the piece of art was missing and alerted staff and police.

Neither family nor staff recognized the woman.

The female suspect is described as white, 30 to 35 years old, 5-foot-6 and 220 pounds, with shoulder-length dirty blond hair. She was wearing large dark sunglasses, running shoes, a black T-shirt and black Adidas track pants with three white stripes on the legs.

“The fact that she was carrying a box appropriate for carrying a painting indicates this was targeted,” said Longley.

Longley said police need the help of local art dealers, collectors and the public to assist in returning the art to the owner and identifying the thief.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.

© Copyright (c) CW Media Inc.

September 15th, 2010

Posted In: art theft

WALTHAMSTOW: Thieves strike at art trail

1:55pm Monday 13th September 2010

• By Daniel Binns »

GRAND European galleries housing works by Van Gogh and Picasso are the usual targets of art thieves – but now they have struck in Walthamstow too.

On Saturday night, as the week-long E17 Art Trail drew to a close, two men are believed to have launched a daring grab-and-dash heist from an exhibition at the Queens Arm pub in Orford Road, making off with an artwork by Leytonstone photographer Kitty Brown.

The piece – which was on sale for an asking price of £50 – was a framed photograph of a swimming dog wearing a bright pink waterproof protective headwrap.

Ms Brown captured the unusual image of the poorly pooch, named Lola, while the animal was undergoing treatement for a problem with her back legs at a hydrotherapy pool in Chingford.

Ms Brown, 40, said she was sad about the theft, but added that she also took it as a compliment.

She said: “I am a bit upset and I think it’s a real shame as I really liked the picture.

“But in a way it’s quite flattering – and I hope whoever has her, enjoys her.”

However there was confusion when Ms Brown put up signs the next day in Walthamstow Village appealing for help in tracking the picture down.

She said: “We put up some posters which were, in effect, a picture of a missing picture of a dog, so some people assumed it was part of the art trail and was a work of art itself.”

There have been no other reported thefts from the trail, which came to a close otherwise successfully yesterday.

Ms Brown is hoping she can retrieve her artwork and the pub has offered a reward of a free pint and packet of crisps to anyone who can help bring it back to its owner.

However in response to popular demand the exhibition of photographs, which is entitled ‘Merry England’ and features shots of everyday life, will continue to run in the pub for the next two weeks.

Anyone with any information about the missing piece can contact Kitty Brown via the Guardian by emailing or by contacting the pub.

September 13th, 2010

Posted In: art theft

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September 12th, 2010

Posted In: art theft

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September 9th, 2010

Posted In: art theft

Co-Owner of Missing Corot, Sales Agent Spent Time in Prison

By Karen Freifeld, Katya Kazakina and Philip Boroff – Sep 4, 2010 12:01 AM ET Sat Sep 04 04:01:01 GMT 2010

James Haggerty. Haggerty was convicted in 2006 in a vehicular assault case and was the defendant in a lawsuit involving a missing $1.4 million Corot painting. Source: Nassau County District Attorney via Bloomberg

“Portrait of a Girl” by Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot. The painting is missing after a man hired to help sell the painting misplaced it after a night of drinking. The owner valued it at $1.4 million. Source: The Granger Collection via Bloomberg

A prison mug shot of Tom Doyle. Doyle was identified as the co-owner of the missing Corot painting “Portrait of a Girl.” Source: New York State Department of Correctional Services via Bloomberg

Tom Doyle and James Carl Haggerty weren’t hobnobbing in Manhattan, Miami or London in early 2007 as the art market was peaking.

They were confined in March and April to Ulster Correctional Facility, a medium-security prison 94 miles north of Sotheby’s York Avenue salesroom in New York. Doyle, now 53, had pleaded guilty to grand larceny related to the sale of a bronze Degas sculpture. Haggerty, 55, was convicted of vehicular assault, after a drunk-driving incident that caused serious injuries to two victims.

Now they’re linked to a missing $1.4 million Jean-Baptiste- Camille Corot painting, a story that started as an improbable man-walks-into-a-bar joke in New York tabloids and evolved into something more serious after a mug shot of Doyle, the art-crime felon, was matched to Tom Doyle, a co-owner of the Corot.

A James Carl Haggerty was hired to help sell the painting, and told Doyle, the co-owner, that he’d misplaced the painting after a night of drinking at Manhattan’s Mark Hotel, according to a lawsuit filed on Aug. 30 by Kristyn Trudgeon, who claims to be another of the painting’s owners.

“It was a beautiful piece,” said Trudgeon in an interview. “It’s lost by this drunk.”

Max DiFabio, who represented Trudgeon, said earlier this week that he was withdrawing the suit after he showed her a mug shot of Doyle. He is no longer working for her, he said yesterday.

Trudgeon, 39, called co-owner Doyle a “friend” and declined in an interview to say whether they’re romantically linked. She acknowledged that he has access to her apartment.

‘Commendable Man’

“He is a very commendable man,” she said. “Tom just got his driver’s license renewed. He’s not hiding.”

Trudgeon claimed in her suit that Haggerty, promised a fee to sell the 1857-58 “Portrait of a Girl,” had taken the Corot to the Mark on Doyle’s instructions. Haggerty was to show the artwork to a London dealer who’d expressed interest in buying it, according to the complaint.

After hours of drinking, Haggerty left the Mark with the painting, according to the complaint. An hour and 40 minutes later, he arrived empty-handed at the West Side apartment where he was staying and later told Doyle he couldn’t recall where the painting was, the complaint states.

Trudgeon said she filed the lawsuit to obtain Haggerty’s phone records.

“Unless you turn your phone off you can figure out your location because you bounce off the satellite,” she said. “There are so many satellites in Manhattan we could figure out where he was during that hour and a half.”

Call to Haggerty

A man who answered a call placed to a mobile phone Haggerty used in connection with the painting sale said it was a wrong number and hung up after being told the caller was a reporter.

Doyle didn’t return phone messages seeking comment.

The artwork was earlier in the collection of Los Angeles’s Hammer Museum. In 2007, Armand Hammer Foundation, funded by the industrialist who died in 1990, sold it for $900,000, according to the foundation’s tax return. Trudgeon said she and Doyle bought it from New York’s Hammer Galleries in June with the aid of investors. She declined to disclose the price.

The gallery’s chairman, Michael Hammer, is president and chief executive of the Hammer Foundation, according to a 2008 tax return. Hammer didn’t return messages seeking comment left at the gallery.

Doyle and Haggerty started their sentences in the Ulster County prison within days of each other, said Linda Foglia, a spokeswoman for the New York State Department of Correctional Services. Haggerty was released in September 2008, and Doyle was released in December 2009, Foglia said.

Jet Job

Howard Gollomp, chief executive of Imperial Jets, a New York charter company, said Doyle and Haggerty worked as consultants for him this year to generate business. He said the only thing they generated was unwelcome publicity after the story broke.

“They have been banished from the kingdom,” he said.

The James Carl Haggerty who served time in prison is about five-foot ten, with blond hair and blue eyes. Simon Mills, who was the landlord of Haggerty the sales agent the night of the painting’s disappearance, said the person in James Carl Haggerty’s mug shot is the same man as his former tenant.

Mills’s apartment in Trump Place is the address Trudgeon claims is Haggerty the sales agent’s residence and the one she used for the summons for her lawsuit against him. Haggerty lost the painting between the Mark Hotel and his return to that apartment, the complaint states.

A person who dealt with Haggerty the sale agent also matched the vehicular-assault mug shot to him, asking not to be identified because the matter is confidential.

2006 Art Crime

Doyle was charged in New York in 2006 with grand larceny and possession of stolen property in connection with the Degas. He posed as a member of an art-collecting family to befriend Norman Alexander, owner of “Danseuse Regardant le Plant de son Pied Droit,” a sculpture of a dancer looking at the sole of her foot, the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office has said.

“This is a bad guy,” said Gary Lerner, a New York lawyer who represented Alexander. “He’s a con man and a thief.”

Doyle was accused of taking the piece in 2004 and selling it for $225,000. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to serve a maximum of five years in state prison, according to Erin Duggan, a spokeswoman for the district attorney. Doyle was paroled Dec. 7, state Department of Correctional Services records show.

“Let’s say he’s guilty as hell, which I don’t think he is, so what?” Trudgeon said. “The lawsuit is against Haggerty, not against Tom. I’d hope everyone would just back off and focus on the painting.”

District Attorney Investigation

It turns out the district attorney is already doing that as part of a new criminal investigation, according to a person with knowledge of the confidential probe who asked not to be named.

Walter Lynch, director of security at the Mark Hotel, said Sept. 2 that he was talking to the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office.

Duggan, the district attorney spokeswoman, declined to comment on the matter.

The case is Trudgeon v. Haggerty, 111583/2010, Supreme Court of the State of New York.

To contact the reporters responsible for this story: Karen Freifeld in New York at; Katya Kazakina in New York at

September 7th, 2010

Posted In: art theft, lawsuit, legal issues and the law

Van Gogh investigations nearing closure
Arabic Edition
Sat, 28/08/2010 – 14:51

Investigations into the theft of the van Gogh painting Poppy Flower ended two days ago, according to the North Giza Prosecution. Over the six days of investigations, the prosecution heard 32 witnesses. Another six individuals were imprisoned on charges of negligence, including the head of the Fine Arts Sector Mohsen Shalaan. Authorities renewed the imprisonment of these six for another 15 days, pending further investigations.

Authorities will soon complete investigations in their entirety, according to a criminal laboratory report. Judicial sources said the suspects are expected to be referred for criminal trial over the next few days.

During the investigations, the prosecution heard the testimony of Salah al-Meligui, head of the Central Unit for Museums. He said he intended to include a plan to renovate the Mohamed Mahmoud Khalil Museum in the budget but Shalaan asked him to postpone that plan and use the budget allocations for the development of other museums. Shalaan successfully pressured the Minister of Culture to use money from the Cultural Development Fund for the Khalil Museum’s renovations, according to al-Meligui.

Mahmoud Bassiouni, head of the engineering department of the fine arts sector, said Shalaan is to blame for not including the museum’s development plan in the budget. Bassiouni said he created designs for the project as instructed.

Employees from the fine arts sector said there was a plan to move the contents of the Khalil Museum to al-Gezira Museum until the renovations were completed. The contents of the museum were never moved, however, because the al-Gezira Museum also required renovations.

Translated from the Arabic Edition.

August 29th, 2010

Posted In: art theft, law enforcement and investigation

26 August 2010 Last updated at 10:34 ET
Antique silverware stolen during Sutton Green break-in

Police said the total collection of stolen silverware was worth £25,000
A collection of antique silverware worth more than £25,000 has been stolen from a house in Sutton Green.

Surrey Police said a burglar broke into the property and took dozens of items of “personal and monetary value”.

Among the pieces stolen were a silver tea service worth more than £3,000 and three pairs of Victorian candlestick holders worth £5,000.

The intruder also took a Victorian oil lamp and military sword, both worth about £2,000.

Detectives have appealed for information on the burglary, which happened on 8 August.

August 27th, 2010

Posted In: art theft, metal theft

Egypt Jails Five Officials in Van Gogh Theft Probe

August 23, 2010, 11:57 AM EDT

By Alaa Shahine

(Updates with more officials detained in third paragraph, culture minister’s comment in sixth.)

Aug. 23 (Bloomberg) — Egypt’s public prosecutor has ordered the detention of a culture ministry official pending a investigation into the theft of a $55 million painting by Vincent van Gogh, the state-run Middle East News Agency reported.

The painting, which is titled “Poppy Flowers” or “Vase of Flowers” was declared missing from the Mohamed Mahmoud Khalil Museum in Cairo on Aug. 21.

Prosecutor Abdel-Meguid Mahmoud also ordered the four-day detention of four museum employees, the news agency reported today, without saying how it obtained the information. The five are accused of negligence, according to the report.

The painting is one of 304 oil paintings and 50 sculptures in the three-story museum, which was built on the Nile in 1920 as the residence of Egyptian art collector Khalil. The most conservative estimate of the value of the collection is 7 billion Egyptian pounds ($1.2 billion), according to a government website. The museum features a number of prominent European artists including Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Paul Gauguin and Claude Monet.

Egypt, which boasts some of the world’s most renowned antiquities, such as the golden mask of the Pharaoh Tutankhamun, has been restoring many of its cultural attractions in an attempt to boost revenue from tourism, which brought in $10.76 billion in income last year, according to the Tourism Ministry.

Poor Security

Security at many sites remains poor, say officials. The theft “took place in broad daylight,” Culture Minister Faruq Hosni said in an interview aired today by Dubai-based Al Arabiya television. Only seven out of 43 security cameras were functioning and none of the alarms attached to the museum’s paintings was working, the public prosecutor told reporters yesterday at the museum.

The robbers climbed on a sofa and cut the picture out of its frame, the state-run news agency reported yesterday, saying security agencies at Egypt’s airports and borders had been put on alert. The public prosecutor has ordered the release on bail of three other people, including the director of the museum, it said.

The same van Gogh painting was stolen in 1978 and was recovered two years later from an undisclosed location in Kuwait, the Associated Press reported.

Posthumous Fame

Failing to achieve popularity as an artist in his lifetime, Vincent van Gogh committed suicide in 1890 at the age of 37. His paintings have become among the world’s most valuable since his death. “Portrait of Dr. Gachet” sold at Christie’s International Plc for $82.5 million in 1990, making it the most expensive artwork to sell at auction at the time. The previous record for a work at auction was his “Irises,” which sold for $53.9 million.

Van Gogh’s paintings have been frequent targets of art thieves. “Blossoming Chestnut Branches” was one of four paintings stolen from a Zurich museum in February 2008.

Khalil was an Egyptian parliamentarian in the 1930s and 1940s. The mansion and the art collection were bequeathed to the state in his will, the government says. Khalil, who studied law at the Sorbonne University in France, died in Paris in 1953.

–Editors: Digby Lidstone, Heather Langan.

To contact the reporter on this story: Alaa Shahine in Cairo at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Mark Beech at

August 23rd, 2010

Posted In: art theft

Confusion reigns over stolen Van Gogh painting…
By Rayad Abu Awad (AFP) – 9 hours ago

CAIRO, Egypt — Egypt’s culture minister Sunday backtracked on a claim that two Italians were arrested with a stolen Van Gogh painting, blaming a subordinate for giving “inaccurate” information.

“The information … came from … Mohsen Shaalan. Despite Shaalan receiving confirmation that the painting was retrieved, the information was inaccurate,” the ministry said in a statement.

Culture Minister Farouq Hosni had earlier told AFP and Egypt’s official MENA news agency that the work identified as Poppy Flowers and valued at more than 50 million dollars, was found with two Italians in Cairo airport hours after its theft from the Mahmoud Khalil museum on Saturday.

It was not immediately clear why the Italians were arrested and whether they had been freed.

Hosni had earlier said the museum, located in the middle and upperclass district of Dokki on the Nile and which also has works by Monet, Renoir and Degas, was visited by only 10 people on Saturday.

Italy’s domestic ANSA news agency, citing what it called “information gathered at the scene”, said the two Italians were young and that they had visited the museum with a group of Spanish and Russian tourists.

Hosni’s statement said “measures are still underway to uncover the circumstances of the incident and retrieve the painting”.

He also made a live statement by phone on Egyptian state television to set the record straight.

Police officials questioned museum employees and visitors after the theft and reviewed security camera footage. A police official said thieves were expected to smuggle the painting outside the country.

Shalaan, who had said that the painting was in the possession of police at Cairo airport, had meanwhile switched off his cellphone and could not be reached for comment.

Security officials also refused to comment on Hosni’s statement. One official described the incident as “embarrassing and chaotic”.

Hosni had earlier said the painting was cut out of its frame after the Mahmoud Khalil museum opened in the morning.

The painting of the yellow and red flowers in a vase had been stolen before in 1977, and was returned to the museum a decade later.

The museum houses a collection of paintings which were owned by Mahmoud Khalil, a parliamentarian in the 1930s.

August 22nd, 2010

Posted In: art theft, law enforcement and investigation

Van Gogh painting stolen from Cairo museum

Aug 21, 2010, 17:53 GMT

Cairo – One of Vincent Van Gogh’s most famous paintings, Poppy Flowers, has been stolen from a museum in Cairo, Egypt’s Ministry of Culture said on Saturday.

In was not immediately clear how the thieves managed to steal the painting from the Mahmoud Khalil museum, but Culture Minister Farouq Hosni ordered urgent measures to prevent it being taken out of the country.

In 1978, the same painting was stolen, but was returned shortly afterwards. One year later, a duplicate was sold for 43 million dollars in London, sparking a debate in Egypt whether the returned painting was, in fact, a fake.

The museum is named after Mohammed Mahmoud Khalil, a prominent Egyptian politician who purchased the 1915 Nile-side mansion with his French wife. The couple were passionate art collectors.

The museum, inaugurated in 1962, nine years after Khalil’s death, houses a collection of 208 items, among them works by Monet, Toulouse-Lautrec, Gauguin, and Rodin.

August 21st, 2010

Posted In: art theft

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August 20th, 2010

Posted In: art theft, Museum thefts, sculpture theft

Paintings snatched in million-dollar art heist

Updated August 13, 2010 14:06:00

Thieves have made off with 18 valuable artworks which were hanging in an eastern Sydney home.

The paintings were taken from the house in the exclusive Darling Point area some time between Saturday and Tuesday this week.

Detectives say the works by artists such as Charles Blackman, Norman Lindsay and Pro Hart are worth between $1.5 million and $2 million.

They say the paintings were hung throughout the property and the thieves removed some of them from their frames.

Two televisions and phones were also taken in what police believe was a heist involving at least two people.

Police are appealing for information from anyone who may have seen suspicious behaviour around New Beach Road between Saturday and Tuesday.

They say the artworks are all unique and should attract attention if anyone tries to sell them.

Detective Inspector John Maricic says police are working with the art community to find the paintings, but there are fears they have already left the country.

“[These are] well known Australian artists,” he said.

“We believe that to retain them here would serve perhaps no value and we believe that perhaps they’ve been distributed elsewhere.”

The paintings are:

• Victoria And Moonlight by Charles Blackman
• Dreamer In The Glen by David Boyd
• Nasturtiams, Iris And Blue Vase by Chris Canning
• Tree Of Life by John Coburn
• The Crimson Scarf by Janet Cumbrae Stewart
• The Girl In White by Robert Dickerson
• The Red Gown by Judy Drew
• The Red Silk Robe by Judy Drew
• Wild Orchids by Pro Hart
• Rita Of The Seventies by Norman Lindsay
• Seated Nude by Norman Lindsay
• Gloria by Norman Lindsay
• Tug Boat, Williamstown Port by John Perceval
• Adieu Australia by Garry Shead
• Capricorn Haze by Tim Storrier
• Little Blue Bay, Sirius Cove, Sydney by Arthur Streeton
• Nude With Blue Drape by Dora Lynell Wilson
An 18th work was confirmed stolen today.

Anyone with information should contact detectives via Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

August 13th, 2010

Posted In: art theft

Thieves steal $25,000 in bronze from Spokane cemeteries

by Crime Stoppers

Posted on August 11, 2010 at 9:13 PM

SPOKANE — Two Spokane cemeteries have lost as much as $25,000 worth of brass flower pots and urns to a thief in the past three weeks.

During the weekend of July 24, a suspect or suspects stole 50 14×18-inch bronze flower pots from Spokane Memorial Gardens at 5909 S. Cheney-Spokane Road. The theft occurred between 5 p.m. the 24 and 8 a.m. July 27. A cemetery employee placed the loss at $9,000.

Between 4 p.m. August 6 and 8 a.m. August 9, someone stole 270 six-inch bronze vases from the Niches and Crypts areas of Greenwood Memorial Terrace at 211 N. Government Way. A representative said the loss would be at least $15,000 and could be substantially higher depending on the cost to ship replacements.

In both thefts, a vehicle would have been required to haul away the bronze items due to their weight. Investigators believe the items were stolen to be sold as scrap metal.

Anyone with information about either theft is encouraged to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS, or at 327-5111. Tipsters do not have to give their names to collect the cash fugitive reward.

August 12th, 2010

Posted In: art theft

6 August 2010 Last updated at 12:45 ET
Henry Moore sketch stolen in Broadway art gallery raid

The sketch was made with crayons, felt-tip, pen ink and brush work
A Henry Moore sketch and two oil paintings have been stolen from a gallery in south Worcestershire.

The works of art are estimated to be worth £230,000 and were stolen from Trinity House Pictures in Broadway High Street at about 0150 BST.

Police said four young men or youths in dark clothing and hats were seen running off towards The Green and may have had a getaway car nearby.

Among the haul was Henry Moore’s Three Reclining Figures On Pedestals sketch.

The sketch made by Britain’s most famous sculptor is valued at about £45,000 and was created using a combination of crayons, felt-tip pen, pen and ink and pen and brush work.

The stolen oil paintings were “In the Lily Garden” with a painting called “On the Sand Dune” on the reverse, both by Dorothea Sharp, and Edwards Seago’s “Thames Barges at Low Water, Pin Mill”.

Simon Shore, the gallery’s co-owner, said: “All three of these easily recognised pictures were painted by very well known English artists and are likely to be of interest to English collectors.

“Unfortunately, there are a few who will not be concerned about how they come by them.”

Anyone with information is asked to contact West Mercia Police or call Crimestoppers anonymously.

August 6th, 2010

Posted In: art theft

Thieves nab artifacts at historic Swedish landmark

By LOUISE NORDSTROM, Associated Press Writer

STOCKHOLM — A gang of thieves on Friday staged a remarkable break-in near the Swedish royal family’s residence in Stockholm, smashing display cases at a historic 18th-century Chinese-style landmark and getting away with artifacts that police called potentially priceless.

The heist at the ornate Chinese Pavilion, a birthday gift from King Adolf Fredrik to Queen Lovisa Ulrika in 1753, took just six minutes, and occurred just after security guards had made their rounds at 2 a.m., police spokeswoman Diana Sundin said.

“The alarm went off just as the guards had passed by,” she said. Guards immediately returned to the scene, but the burglars had already vanished, she said.

The burglars are believed to have entered the building by smashing the glass on the pavilion’s back door. Once inside, they shattered three display cases, she said, and made off with an unknown number of “old, beautiful Chinese objects.”

“It might not even be possible to put a value on these objects. That’s how bad it is,” she said. She could not say specifically what was stolen, but the pavilion is known for its display of Chinese artifacts including porcelain, China and vases.

The original small wooden Chinese pleasure palace was replaced by a more robust structure in the 1760s and has rich, European rococo interiors along with its collection of chinoiserie. It is located near the royal family’s permanent residence in the Drottningholm Palace park in western Stockholm. Both are on UNESCO’s World Heritage List.

Sundin said there are currently no suspects in the case, but that there are indications that there were at least three people involved in the burglary.

She also said police are investigating a motor bike found abandoned in the nearby waterfront that borders the majestic park.

“Right now, everything points toward them having left via the water,” Sundin said, adding they may have had a boat waiting for them as they fled the scene.

August 6th, 2010

Posted In: art theft

In stolen jewelry box, artifacts from a family history
Posted by adn_jomalley

Posted: August 3, 2010 – 6:29 pm

STOLEN JEWELRY: A brooch carved in a concentration camp was one of the family heirlooms that was stolen from Hana Seda’s home recently.(MARC LESTER / Anchorage Daily News)

The brooch is bone white, curved like a rib, and about the size of the name tag. Four letters, A-N-N-A, are carved in its face. A fastener, homemade from a length of wire, is glued to the back. It probably isn’t worth much money. But to Hana Seda, a 60-year-old Czech immigrant, it is priceless.

It was a gift to her mother at the end of World War II, carved by her uncle while he was interned in the Svatoborice concentration camp in what was then Czechoslovakia.

And now it is gone, stolen sometime Friday night or Saturday morning, along with at least $20,000 worth of belongings, from the log cabin where she lives with her husband, Jan, on North Klevin Street in Mountain View.

Hana Seda is a night janitor at the Elmendorf hospital and Jan is a retired civil engineer. They were in the process of moving from the cabin in Mountain View, where they have lived for 15 years, to a new home in South Anchorage. The cabin will be demolished to make room for new housing meant to improve the neighborhood. Drug-related crime plagued their street, they said.

They slept Friday night at their new home and returned Saturday morning to find their door kicked in. An electrical meter had been torn from the side of the house, making their home alarm useless. Hana and Jan were cleaned out. A huge bucket of change was gone. Six pairs of binoculars, gone. Jan’s tools, gone. And then Hana looked for her jewery box. It was gone too. The loss took the wind out of her. It wasn’t the value of the things inside. It was the connection to people and history, she said.

The Sedas immigrated to the United States more than 30 years ago, fleeing political tensions, they told me on Tuesday. They came to Alaska in 1978. They are German Czechs, a minority in a nation that has undergone several major political shifts since they left. Many of their relatives have since died. Czechoslovakia dissolved. The contents of Hana’s large jewelry box were a trove of family and cultural history.

Both she and Jan teared up when I asked them to describe what was lost.


• The jewelry box
• Six pairs of binoculars
• A plastic bucket of loose change
• 40 rings
• 20 necklaces
• 40 to 50 sets of earrings
• A pair of wedding bands
• An engagement ring
• Tools
• Five wristwatches
• A pocket watch
• Bohemian garnet necklace and other jewelry
• Heirloom carved bone brooches
If you have information on this crime, contact Crimestoppers at

Their wedding rings. Wristwatches. A collection of perfume bottles. A rare, 150-year-old dark Bohemian garnet necklace. Jan winced to talk about a gold coin, a ducat, European currency from before World War I. It carries the image of an emperor, and is wrapped in a piece of paper decorated with the face of a saint. It was passed on through his family for generations, “male to male,” he said. It was given to him by his father.

For Hana, losing the brooch makes her ache. Her mother’s brother, Jaroslav, and her father, Jiri Prudic, were arrested and taken to the camp after the Nazi occupation of Czechoslovakia in 1939. They were being punished because her mother’s other brother, Frantisek, defected to England and joined the British military to fight the Nazis, she said. Jaroslav was 16 when he entered the camp.

Hana’s uncle and great-uncle were eventually liberated. Jaroslav came home with gifts for his sisters carved from the bones of cattle. Two of his brooches — one for Hana’s mother Anna and another for her aunt Maria — were in the stolen jewelry box.

Jaroslav’s body was disfigured from beatings, she said. He never recovered physically or emotionally from the experience. He died in his 50s from complications related to his camp injuries. Family from her mother’s generation rarely spoke about the war, she said. The story of the carved jewelry is one of the few she has.

“Now we don’t have nobody to ask,” she said. “Because nobody is alive anymore.”

She hopes that the brooch and other heirlooms might turn up. They are of modest value, she said.

“To us, it is everything.”

Read more:

August 4th, 2010

Posted In: art theft, WWII

500-yr-old idols stolen from temple in Jaipur

TNN, Jul 30, 2010, 11.58pm IST

JAIPUR: Ashtadhatu idols of Radha-Krishna and Charbhujanath were stolen from Charbhuja temple at Muhana village under Muhana police station on Friday. They were around 500-years old and measured 30 inches each.

According to reports, the thieves entered the temple after dismantling the grill of the entrance between midnight and 3 am and escaped with the idols. In the morning, when priest Ganpat Lal Sharma entered the temple, he found the idols missing. He immediately informed the police and locals. Hundreds of villagers gathered outside the temple and demanded action against the guilty.

Police said the thieves stole the two idols worth crores of rupees, however, they failed to reach the underground portion of the temple where donations and ornaments are kept. Muhana police took over the temple premises and FSL team and dog squad collected fingerprints and evidence from the spot. The entry and exit points have been sealed, said an official.

Police said the same idols were stolen in 2008 but after a month-long investigation, the then SHO of Muhana, Chaina Ram arrested three persons, including two engineering students, and recovered the idols from Uniyara area of Tonk district. The idols were restored in the temple by the villagers.

Meanwhile, villagers demonstrated against the police and alleged that thieves managed to steal idols from the temple amid police patrolling. Locals and the priest demanded security at religious places, police said.

July 31st, 2010

Posted In: art theft

Valuable art stolen from 105-year-old woman

Last Updated: Friday, July 23, 2010 | 4:27 PM PT Comments18Recommend13

CBC News

Surveillance video captured this image of the suspect. (Vancouver Police Department)Vancouver police are asking for the public’s help in identifying a suspect they say stole a valuable painting from a 105-year-old woman living in a rest home.

Police say an unidentified woman walked into a rest home on Vancouver’s west side at about 6 p.m. PT on July 14, carrying flowers, a black shoulder bag and a large flat box.

Police say the woman went straight into the 105-year-old woman’s room, and walked away with a Manet-style painting worth $7,500 and a photograph of the elderly woman at age 17.

Video surveillance shows the woman leaving the rest home with the box and shoulder bag, but without the flowers, which were left behind in the room.

Police say neither family nor staff of the rest home recognized the woman.

The theft was discovered several days later when a relative of the elderly woman noticed the items were missing.

Police say this photograph and painting were stolen from a 105-year-old woman on July 14. (Vancouver Police Department)The painting is described as a copy of a Manet-style Emil Zola portrait, measuring about 60 by 91 centimetres. The photograph of the elderly woman is a framed black and white picture, measuring about 22 by 30 centimetres.

Both items are of great sentimental value to the elderly woman and her family, police said.

The suspect is described as a heavy-set Caucasian woman in her early 30’s, about five feet six inches tall and weighing around 220 pounds.

She has shoulder-length dirty blonde hair and was last seen wearing large dark sunglasses, a black T-Shirt, black Adidas pants and running shoes.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.

Read more:

July 24th, 2010

Posted In: art theft

/20/2010 10:00:00 PM

$7,000 statue stolen? She’s Zen with that
For 11 years, Cynthia Hicks’ Buddha statue was the heart of the neighborhood.

People, young and old, would come to pay tribute to the 2-by-2-foot concrete bust next to Hicks’ garage at the corner of Harvey and Pleasant in Oak Park.

“When I first moved in, a friend told me if I put Buddhas all around the house, they would keep it safe,” Hicks said. “It was a part of the community.”

But one morning earlier this month, on her way to Farmers’ Market, she noticed the statue she bought for $7,000 in 1998 as a permanent installment was gone.

Overnight between July 2 and 3, someone lugged off the hefty statue, dragging it along the ground into the alley, leaving a trail of crumbled concrete.

Hicks noticed the statue was missing as she pulled out of her garage on the 3rd, but it didn’t really hit home until she pulled back in.

“I just thought, ‘Oh my god, it’s really gone,'” she said.

Hicks would hang beads on the neighborhood fixture for passersby and occasionally leave out miniature Buddhas.

The worst thing about it, she said, is the community’s disappointment. One little girl started crying when she came to see the statue and it was gone, Hicks said.

She’s looking into replacement options for the corner, including a similar-sized golden Buddha statue her mom bought. She’s worried the new statue isn’t heavy enough, though, to deter another theft.

But in true Bodhisattva style, Hicks is at peace with the incident.

“There’s got to be some good to come out of it,” Hicks said. “If they really needed it enough to take it, it’s OK for them to have it.”

July 22nd, 2010

Posted In: art theft

Woman Arrested In Rare Baseball Card Theft

Ty Cobb, Walter Johnson In Century-Old Collection

POSTED: 10:57 am EDT July 15, 2010
UPDATED: 11:14 am EDT July 15, 2010

WAREHAM, Mass. — Police say they have recovered a baseball card collection that includes century-old depictions of Ty Cobb and Walter Johnson reported stolen from a Wareham home last weekend and charged a Bourne woman in connection with the theft.
Authorities say 29-year-old Melissa Sleeper was pulled over this week and police found the seven-card collection worth an estimated $11,000 in her car. She was charged with receiving stolen property and released on bail after a not guilty plea was entered on her behalf Tuesday.
The cards’ owner, whose name was not released by police, identified the collection as his, saying they were family heirlooms.
Police would not say whether Sleeper knew the owner.
It was not immediately clear if Sleeper had a lawyer and a home number could not be located.

July 20th, 2010

Posted In: art theft

06 July ’10 by the editors

POLICE in Surrey are seeking information about this man, pictured here, in connection with the theft of six paintings and Georgian writing desk worth total of around £25,000 from an antiques shop in Dorking earlier this month.

The theft occurred shortly before 8pm on June 13, when two men broke into the dealership Antique Elegance on West Street in the central Surrey town.

Having broken into the flat above the shop but failing to gain entry to the shop premises using a pickaxe and spade, they smashed the front window and carried out the items before making a hasty getaway in a Mercedes Sprinter van with false number plates.

The man pictured is described by police as in his mid to late 50s, 6ft to 6ft 3in tall, of slim build, with short scruffy light grey hair and a short grey beard. He spoke with a southern accent. The second suspect is described as white, in his mid to late 50s, 5ft 7in to 5ft 10in tall, of medium build and with scruffy white hair.

Investigating Officer Detective Constable Dion O’Shea said: “I am appealing to members of the public to look closely at this image and if you recognise this man please tell me who he is. The image clearly shows the first suspect loading a small desk into the back of the van and you can see the stolen paintings which are already loaded into the van.”

The paintings taken included two works by the Victorian landscape painter Edward Charles Williams (1807-1881) – Gypsy Encampment Moon Rising, an oil on canvas signed E.C. Williams, exhibited at Royal Academy in 1840 and the British Institute in 1841, and Figures on a Beach, another signed work dated 1840.

This incident followed another theft in Dorking a few weeks before where £70,000 worth of silver was taken from a nearby shop.

Anyone with information should contact Surrey Police on 0845 125 2222, quoting reference number MV/10/2512, or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

July 9th, 2010

Posted In: art theft

Museum robbed of hero’s plate

07 Jul, 2010 12:00 AM
ALMOST 160 years after an Aboriginal man single-handedly saved the lives of 49 Gundagai residents during the 1852 floods, someone has stolen his breastplate.
After Yarri took to his bark canoe and saved dozens from the rising waters of the Murrumbidgee River, he was presented with an ornamental metal breastplate and chain by the Horsley family.

One of a kind, Yarri’s breastplate has been on display in the Gundagai Museum since it was found near Cootamundra in 1990 -until now.

Museum volunteers noticed the historic piece was missing from its place late last month, but cannot be sure how long it has been missing.

What they are sure of is that the breastplate has fallen victim to foul play.

“It was in a glass case, it was screwed down, all the sliding doors were screwed down – it would take a little while to get it,” volunteer Alan Worldon said.

Mr Worldon believes the only way someone could have taken the relic would be if the museum attendant was distracted by another patron, because of the effort that would go into removing it from the case.

Police have lifted a fingerprint from the glass of the cabinet.

July 7th, 2010

Posted In: art theft

Rare artefacts stolen from Nat’l Museum

Staff Correspondent
A number of rare objects including a gold cross of Queen Victoria and 17 old coins with archaeological value have been stolen from the National Museum.

The museum authorities have filed a case with Shahbagh Police Station in this regard mentioning that a total of 26 rare objects were stolen.

Among those, five were gold medals, three silver medals and an Ekushey Padak and 17 rare coins of Coochbihar, Assam and Tripura.

The medals include Nababjada Latifur Rahman gold medal, Queen Victoria gold medal and Ekushey medal.

Prakash Chandra Das, director general of the museum, told The Daily Star that they were not sure that exactly 26 objects were stolen as they could not complete the whole checklist of artefacts yet.

“It could be more than 26 or less than that. So far we have found around 26 of them are missing,” he said.

The last partial inventory of the objects was conducted in 2004 where the names of the stolen objects were mentioned. Since then many people were engaged in the process, the DG said.

“Those might have been lost any time after 2004 as none noticed it,” said Prakash, the newly appointed director general of the museum.

Prakash first came to know about the theft at the gallery no. 21 on April 26 this year.

The authorities then conducted an internal investigation that suspected five employees of the museum.

The probe body, formed on June 30, decided to suspend deputy keeper Noor-e Nasrin, assistant keeper Saifuzzaman and security guards Dulal Mia, Abdul Karim and Alamgir Chowdhury.

Earlier, museum secretary Alam Ara Begum filed a case with Shahbagh Police Station on June 26 in connection with the heist.

Investigating officer of the case and Shahbagh thana SI Abdur Rahim told The Daily Star said that so far no one has been arrested in this connection and “the investigation is on”.

He said Dr Rezaul Karim, an official of the department, recently went on LPR (leave preparatory to retirement). “He would be interrogated in this connection.”

SI Rahim, however, declined to go into details “in the interest of secrecy of the case”.

Talking to The Daily Star, a senior official of the museum said they noticed those artefacts missing for the last three years. But they could not go for any action due to the existing situation in the country and some high officials of the museum.

An official of the museum said that they did not see those artefacts in last three years. But the officials concerned did not check the inventory properly.

“Checking the inventory is a huge task as the number of the artefacts in the museum is over 86,000,” said the director general.

July 5th, 2010

Posted In: art theft

26 rare artifacts stolen, museum mum

Mon, Jul 5th, 2010 12:48 am BdST
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Sulaiman Niloy

Dhaka, July 4 (– At least 26 medals and coins of History and Classical Fine Arts Department under Gallery 21 of National Museum have been stolen.

The museum’s deputy keeper Nure Nasrin, assistant keeper AKM Saifuzzaman and three security personnel have been temporarily suspended over the incident.

Museum secretary Alam Ara filed a case with Shahbagh Police Station on June 26 though the case did not specify when the theft took place.

On June 2, the museum filed a general diary with Shahbagh police citing that 26 artifacts have been stolen but then the GD also bore no date of occurrence.

Allegations are there that the museum is trying to maintain strict secrecy to hush it up.

When asked about the matter, security chief Sultan Mahmud and head of History and Classical Fine Arts Department Swapan Kumar Biswas pleaded their ignorance saying that they have been asked not to talk about the matter.

Museum’s director general Prakash Chandra Das was not available at his office despite having an appointment with this correspondent.

Investigation officer of the case and Shahbagh police sub-inspector Abdur Rahim told that investigation would end soon. He declined to elaborate in the interest of the investigation.

Rahim said no one has been arrested. understands that the museum has formed a three-member probe committee, which had been asked to report within seven working days.

In the report, the committee after watching an obscure and incomplete video footage of 2005 mentioned that the number of stolen medals and coins were about 26.

But they could not say the ‘exact number’.

The History and Classical Fine Arts Department did not provide any relevant authentic information to the probe committee. On top of that, the report stated that the information was not available with the records of the security branch.

Sufi Mostafizur Rahman, professor of Department of Anthropology at Jahangirnagar University, told, “The account of the museum’s collection is usually kept at several places. There is no scope to say that it is missing. And in the case of the National Museum, it is unimaginable.”

The probe report blamed deputy keeper Nure Nasrin, assistant keeper AKM Saifuzzaman for their negligence.

The correspondent found that the Gallery 21 on the first floor had collection of coins dating back to 1985-1942 in its 3462 showcase but some niches were found empty.

There was evidence of coins having been deliberately removed from the niches.

Professor Rahman said, “All collections of museum are priceless. They cannot be purchased in exchange for money.”

“Considering their importance, the museum’s collections have to be properly preserved as the valuable treasures once lost cannot be regained,” Rahman said.

July 5th, 2010

Posted In: art theft

Compiled by the Government Communication and Information System
Date: 30 Jun 2010
Title: FIFA confirms trophy theft
Johannesburg – After conflicting media reports, FIFA confirmed on Wednesday that seven replica trophies valued at ?2100 (about R2100) each, were stolen from the football body’s Johannesburg offices.

But spokesperson Nicolas Maingot however added that no signs of break-ins were uncovered at the store-room where the trophies were kept.

“Indeed the incident did take place – but I have to say there were no signs of break-in and police are investigating the matter,” Maingot said.

He also said FIFA will be watching the police investigations following revelations on Tuesday by police head General Bheki Cele that a UK journalist has been held for allegedly masterminding the incident at the Green Point Stadium where British fan Pavlos Joseph trespassed into the English team’s dressing room.

Cele said initial investigations and analysis of the CCTV footage had led police to believe that the breach of security at the dressing room was planned and involved the cooperation of a number of individuals.

“That matter is now with the police and we will leave that for now,” Maingot said, when asked what FIFA’s position on the matter was.

Meanwhile, the world football governing body says it has committed more than $70 million (about R560 million) towards the development of football in Africa since South Africa was announced as a winning bidder in 2004.

The money was being used to develop state-of-the-art football projects and infrastructure across all 53 member states. 53 football turfs were being built across the continent as part of the “win in Africa with Africa” initiative.

“The initiative has helped all the 53 member associations in the continent develop state of the art football projects and improve domestic leagues,” said Thierry Regenass, FIFA’s Development officer.

He said FIFA was also utilising the funds in the form of training courses and workshops in the areas of health, media and education.

“The win in Africa with Africa has brought about major improvements in our domestic footballs whereby with the introduction of football turfs we have moved from organising three matches a day to 21 matches, it has been a tremendous help to us,” said Tanzanian Football Association President Leodear Tenga. – BuaNews

June 30th, 2010

Posted In: art theft

Pickaxe raid nets £20,000 worth of antiques

RAIDED: Jenny Butcher, owner of Antique Elegance on West Street, which was burgled on June 13 Photo No: RSMak210610-F01 by Alec Kingham

RAIDERS drove off with £20,000 worth of stolen items in the fourth major theft in Dorking’s antiques hub this year.

Six prized paintings and a Georgian desk were taken from Antique Elegance in West Street at 7.45pm on June 13.

Burglars used a pickaxe to smash their way through the shop window after blocking the premises from view with a white van.

Owners Roger and Jenny Butcher said the thieves had tried to smash their way through the shop ceiling from an upstairs flat being renovated.

Roger Butcher of Antique Elegance said: “It was quite an audacious raid because they pulled up in a van and blocked the whole window out. They went in upstairs first of all to try and come through the ceiling.

“We got mobile phone pictures of them. They looked like two old lags in their 50s. They broke in upstairs and tried to pull the floorboards up and come through.

“They were spotted on the roof by neighbours.

“They did not want to jemmy the door because it is alarmed, so they smashed the window instead with a pickaxe.”

He added: “It makes me sick. They have taken stuff that is mine, no one else’s.”

Jenny Butcher said: “Luckily, a neighbour disturbed them and took photos of them and they skedaddled. I think they were there to take the whole lot.

“All these paintings are known artists and some of them were exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1848.”

One witness, who did not wish to be named, said: “I heard a lot of glass being smashed and I looked out the window and saw someone taking property out of the shop.”

The witness added: “Everybody puts the police down at the moment but they literally took two minutes to arrive on the scene.”

The raid was the fourth major burglary at an antique store in Dorking this year. Silverware and several thousand pounds’ worth of antiques were stolen in January and March from Talbot House Antique Centre. Earlier this month, £15,000 worth of jewellery was taken from Surrey Hills Antique Centre.

Detectives are seeking further photographic evidence that could lead them to the culprits of the most recent raid. A police spokeswoman said: “A white van, which was using false plates, was caught on CCTV in the area at the time of the offence and inquiries are on-going to establish where the vehicle went when it left the scene.”

June 27th, 2010

Posted In: art theft

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June 22nd, 2010

Posted In: art theft

Jewell thiefs targets Birmingham Museum – but the Staffordshire Hoard is safe

Jun 22 2010 by Neil Elkes, Birmingham Mail

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A BURGLAR stole three pieces of Indian Jewellery from a display case at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery.

But luckily the sneak thief missed out on the larger prize, items from the priceless Staffordshire Hoard on show in a gallery nearby.

Gallery curators said that the missing jewellery, three bangles, is modern and of no significant value compared to the many masterpieces on show.

They are still undertaking a full review of security in the light of the theft, even though it was the first time in seven years a display item has been stolen.

The jewellery was taken from a display in Gallery 33 between 5pm and 8pm on Friday, May 28.

Police are currently reviewing security camera footage and may have identified a suspect.

A museum spokesman confirmed that items of Indian jewellery were taken from a display cabinet.

June 22nd, 2010

Posted In: art theft, Museum thefts

Swords stolen from Pacific War Museum

By Dionesis Tamondong • Pacific Daily News • June 22, 2010

The family of the late Marine Corps veteran and advocate John Gerber is asking for the public’s help in recovering three swords stolen from the Pacific War Museum.

The Asan museum, which was founded by Gerber with his personal collection of World War II memorabilia, was broken into Saturday night or early Sunday morning, said Gerber’s widow, Mela Gomez Gerber.

As her family was preparing to open the museum on Sunday, which was Father’s Day, they found a door had been pried open in the museum’s Japanese wing and a glass panel had been shattered.

Nothing else was missing, and the rest of the museum seemed to be in order, Mela Gerber said.

But the burglary was especially upsetting, she said, because of the timing.

“We’re still grieving John’s passing, and we’re trying to keep his legacy going,” she said. “Then something like this happens, and it just really upsets everybody.”

John Gerber died May 4 and was buried with full military honors.

In addition to the museum, the Marine sergeant was responsible for having Route 1 renamed from Marine Drive to Marine Corps Drive, and was known for his continuous support of fellow Marines.

Mela Gerber is asking those responsible to return the swords. She’s also asking anyone with information to call police.

Two of the missing swords once were owned by Japanese officers. The third item — a samurai sword — was an heirloom and is reportedly about 559 years old, said Mela Gerber and police spokesman Officer A.J. Balajadia.

The Guam Police Department’s Criminal Investigation Section is investigating the theft.

June 22nd, 2010

Posted In: art theft, Museum thefts

Thieves make off with 7ft topless mermaid statue carved from wood

The half-ton wooden mermaid.
A BUXOM 7ft mermaid weighing almost half a tonne has been stolen from a Lincolnshire artist.

The mermaid was made by an Australian woman who specialises in creating page three-style pieces during a competition in the UK.

The statuesque figure was taken from the chainsaw sculptor Mick Burns’s yard near Hackthorn.

Mr Burns, who created the three bears at the entrance to Birchwood nature park, said he was not sure exactly when the well-endowed figure was taken, but said it was about May 26.

He said: “I think someone must have spotted her and decided to come back for her later. She won’t have been easy to move.

“They must have come with something to lift her and a large vehicle. I can’t think where they will put her.”

Sitting astride a rock and combing her hair with a fish skeleton, the mermaid is as distinctive as she is large. Mr Burns is hopeful somebody will have spotted her.

He said: “They can’t have put her on display in public because someone will see her. I’m hoping somebody has seen her and just weren’t aware of what they were looking at.

“If that is the case, they should call the police.”

The statue was carved by Angela Polglaze and gifted to Mr Burns as she could not take it back to Australia.

It is not the first time something has been stolen from Mr Burns. A few years ago, a giant snail shell with a hand and a foot coming out of it instead of a snail’s head was taken from the bottom of a garden.

Last month, the bear family he carved for Birchwood nature park were vandalised.

Police encouraged Mr Burns to let people know about the theft as the sculpture is easy to identify.

Lincolnshire Police spokesman Debra Tinsley said: “This theft was of an extremely unusual item.

“The wooden mermaid was very heavy and would have been awkward to remove. Therefore the thieves must have come prepared to transport it and may have visited the premises prior to committing the crime.

“This was a hand-made piece that was valuable in monetary terms, as well as in artistic terms, for the craftsman who designed and made it.”

Anyone with any information should call Lincolnshire Police’s witness line on 0300 111300.

June 17th, 2010

Posted In: art theft, sculpture theft

DOJ absolves 14 NPC officers of Manansala mural theft

By DateLine Philippines
Posted on Jun. 16, 2010 at 6:43pm |
MANILA, Philippines – Justice Secretary Alberto Agra has ordered the dropping of a criminal complaint filed against 14 officers of the National Press Club (NPC) in connection with the sale of the Vicente Manansala mural painting on the NPC building in Intramuros, Manila.

In a four-page resolution issued on June 11, Agra withdrew his earlier resolution which ordered the indictment of the journalists before the trial court for the supposed “theft and illegal sale” of the mural.

Cleared of any criminal liability were NPC officials Roy Mabasa, Benny Antiporda, Loui Logarta, Amor Virata, Jun Cobarrubias, Jerry Yap, Alvin Feliciano, Joey Venancia, William Depasupil, Dennis Fetalino, Joel Sy Egco, Conrad Generoso, Rolly Gonzalo, and Samuel Julian.

The NPC officers earlier appealed Agra’s May 27 resolution ordering the filing of criminal charges against them based on the petition for review filed by the Government Service and Insurance System (GSIS) which claimed ownership of the mural.

After reviewing arguments presented in their motion for reconsideration, Agra held there was no probable cause to indict the 14 officers for violation of Article 308 in relation to Article 310 of the Revised Penal Code (qualified theft).

The Justice secretary also ruled that the mural’s buyer, Odette Alcantara, did not violate Presidential Decree 1612 or the Anti-Fencing Law.

In their motion for reconsideration, the NPC officers presented new evidence consisting of a ruling of the Regional Trial Court of Pasay City, Branch 112, declaring that it is NPC that owned the Manansala painting at the time that it was removed from the wood-framed wall of the NPC building.

“Based on this new evidence presented by respondents-appellees, we reverse our findings,” Agra said.

The case stemmed from the criminal complaint lodged by the GSIS against the NPC for selling the painting for more than P10 million.

GSIS stressed that the NPC officers were liable for qualified theft for selling the painting without its consent.

June 16th, 2010

Posted In: art theft, lawsuit

Confiscated relics submitted to ICHTO
Sat, 12 Jun 2010 18:06:39 GMT
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Over 6 tons of relics were confiscated from Argentine diplomat Sebastian Zavala.
The Persian relics confiscated from an Argentinean diplomat last year have been submitted to Iran’s Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization.

Over 6 tons of handcrafts and relics were found among the possessions of Sebastian Zavala when he attempted to leave Iran in June 2009, after his seven-year service in Tehran.

Ancient earthenware and paintings, age-old manuscripts, a collection of antique guns, and a whole set of ancient coins were only part of the items packed in 318 cardboard boxes.

Indian, Buddhist, Chinese and Armenian manuscripts, Pharaonic Egypt, African and Buddhist figurines and early 1900 handguns and military medals were also among the recovered objects.

Zavalla was not the first foreign diplomat who tried to smuggle Persian antiquities out of the country.

In March 2009, the third secretary of the South Korean Embassy in Tehran was also caught smuggling a priceless relic dating to the Achaemenid era out of Iran.

Customs officials at Shiraz Airport seized the remnant after they found it in the South Korean diplomat’s luggage at check-in. The envoy was later released due to his diplomatic immunity.


June 13th, 2010

Posted In: art theft, recovery

Organised gangs blamed for thefts from stately homes

10:02am Tuesday 1st June 2010

TWO of North Yorkshire’s most famous stately homes have been listed among a string of historic properties at the centre of a crimewave.

The Art Newspaper has produced a rundown of how organised gangs are setting their sights on ancient houses across the UK, with some of the crooks using tiny burglars to squeeze through narrow openings and pilfer the valuable items inside.

Among those which have been hit by the criminals is the residence of Prime Minister David Cameron’s father-in-law, Sir Reginald Sheffield,  whose Sutton Park home was burgled in May last year when a £20,000 Meissen teapot in the form of a monkey was taken.

It was also the scene of an attempted burglary in the porcelain room last April, while Castle Howard is also among the roll of properties which have been raided.

The list reveals there have been at least 21 major thefts and 15 attempted robberies at stately homes across the country in the last three years, with Burton Agnes Hall in East Yorkshire also being targeted. Dick Ellis, the former head of Scotland Yard’s art and antiques unit, said three organised gangs, each with a distinctive style, were believed to be behind the thefts, with their tactics also including operating at night by using ladders and removing sections of glass from windows.

He also says the criminals sometimes take curtains and cushions to pack the items they steal and that some of the pieces are damaged during the thefts.

At the time of the Sutton Park break-in, Sir Reginald, the father of Mr Cameron’s wife Samantha, told The Press he was “devastated”, saying:  “The Meissen monkey was an heirloom which has been in my family for a long time.”

He subsequently offered a £5,000 reward for information which could lead to the antique’s return, but was unavailable for comment yesterday about whether it had been found.

Mr Ellis said he believed many of the items stolen are sold at large antiques fairs within days of the theft and often passed to unsuspecting continental dealers.

June 2nd, 2010

Posted In: art theft

Toledo Bar’s Namesake Boar Statue Stolen
Owner Says He Bought Statue 20 Years Ago

POSTED: 10:30 am EDT June 1, 2010
UPDATED: 10:39 am EDT June 1, 2010

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TOLEDO — An Ohio bar is asking for its 200-pound bronze statue of a boar back, no questions asked.
The Bronze Boar tavern in downtown Toledo is named after the statue. The bar’s owner said he bought the more than 3 foot tall statue in an  auction 20 years ago for $2,000.
The statue, which was normally displayed in the back of the establishment, disappeared while the owner was out of town.
The bar will pay a reward for the statue in return. However, the owner said he is assuming it was taken to sell for scrap.

June 2nd, 2010

Posted In: art theft, sculpture theft

Stolen bear statue found in bushes at community center,park-ridge-bearstolen-060310-s1.article

June 1, 2010
A nearly 6-foot-tall Scottish-bear statue, missing from Park Ridge’s Centennial Park for a week, returned Saturday just as mysteriously as it had disappeared.

The statue, part of Rainbow Hospice and Palliative Care’s Promise of Park Ridge 2010 public art display, was removed from its base and stolen from the park’s playground area overnight between May 22 and May 23, according to police. But on Saturday the bear, wearing a painted teal, red and blue Scottish tartan, was discovered in some bushes on the grounds of the Park Ridge Community Center, said Jackie Mathews, special events coordinator of Rainbow Hospice.

This nearly 6-foot-tall Scottish bear statue, part of Rainbow Hospice’s Promise of Park Ridge public art display, was stolen from Centennial Park in Park Ridge recently.
(Photo courtesy of Rainbow Hospice)
The statue wasn’t there when the grounds were checked earlier, she said, but was spotted by a child who mentioned it to a member of the Park Ridge Art League, the group that helped paint many of the fiberglass animal statues that are part of the public art display and fund-raiser.

Mathews said everyone involved in the project is “grateful” the bear was returned, even if he did suffer some scrapes and scratches during his apparent bear-napping.

“He’s currently having some R-and-R at an Art League member’s home and is being repaired,” Mathews said. “Then he’s headed back out to the park.”

The theft made Rainbow Hospice consider removing statues from Centennial Park and placing some in local storefronts, instead, according to a press release the health-care provider issued late last week. But since the return of the Scottish bear Mathews said she would prefer the artwork remain at Centennial, where people can enjoy it.

“It’s our hope that these will stay in the park,” she said. “We want them to be accessible to the public.”

Though she could not say exactly how much the bear statue weighed, Mathews said it clearly would have taken a few people to move it.

About the time the bear was stolen a cougar statue displayed nearby was also ripped off its base, but was left on the ground, Park Ridge police said. Rainbow Hospice also reported that a miniature African-elephant statue, also at Centennial, was robbed of a purse and earrings.

The animal statues were installed in Centennial and two other parks just two weeks ago.

June 2nd, 2010

Posted In: art theft, sculpture theft