Wat een walgelijke TV-avond. In De Wereld Draait Door en bij Pauw werd podium geboden aan ‘Okkie’ Durham, de inbreker die twee Van Gogh schilderijen roofde uit het museum aan de Paulus Potterstraat. Gelukkig bleef mijn inbreng in de door Vincent Verweij gemaakte en door Brandpunt uitgezonden documentaire over de inbraak en de terugkeer van de schilderijen beperkt tot een enkele, algemene opmerking over inbraakvertragend glas en mijn stellige overtuiging dat deals met criminelen de basis leggen voor toekomstige diefstallen. Okkie’s advocaat Bénédicte Ficq, iedere keer wanneer ik haar zie moet ik denken aan Hirsi Ali, deelde mijn mening.

De documentaire waar Verweij een jaar aan werkte, geeft een fascinerende inkijk in de wereld van ‘career criminals’ als Durham en Mink Kok. Geen heren die je graag in je kennissenkring hebt, of met wie je op wat voor manier dan ook geassocieerd wilt worden. Als documentairemaker begeef je je op glad ijs wanneer je met dergelijke heren aan de slag gaat. Het ware beter geweest wanneer Vincent Verweij de boeiende documentaire voor zichzelf had laten spreken, want zijn optreden bij met name Pauw vond ik ronduit ongelukkig. Wat mij betreft wierp dat een smet op wat een goed produkt is. Zo zie je maar: er is een aanzienlijk verschil tussen onmiskenbare professionaliteit achter de camera en beschouwingen over je product in spotlights van een babbelprogramma.

Laat het duidelijk zijn, Okkie Durham wordt in de documentaire van Verweij geenszins verheerlijkt, een valkuil waar journalisten vaak in vallen. De kijkers kregen de narcistische persoon Durham in al zijn ontluistering te zien. Daar was nauwelijks interpretatie door de documentairemaker voor nodig. De man is blijkbaar zoals hij is, een nare crimineel die jarenlang velen benadeeld heeft. Het zal voor Okkie niet prettig zijn op Twitter alle reacties op zijn persoon te lezen. Ik raad hem aan voorlopig niet op zijn bromfietsje – heel symbolisch een kinderformaat ding – door Amsterdam te zwerven, maar zich in schaamte een aantal weken achter de goed beveiligde voordeur van zijn appartement terug te trekken.

Het verhaal in de docu spitste zich toe op de winstgevende kant van schilderijendiefstal. Gestolen schilderijen zouden een ruilmiddel kunnen zijn voor criminelen om strafvermindering te krijgen. Gelukkig prikte Axel Rüger deze ballon door. De suggestie in de docu van Verweij dat een Italiaanse crimineel geen 20 maar 12 jaar straf kreeg dankzij onder andere de teruggave van de schilderijen klopte volgens Axel Rüger niet. De strafeis ging weliswaar van 20 naar 12 jaar, maar de uiteindelijke straf werd 18 jaar. Tel maar uit je winst.

Vincent Verweij leek bij Pauw alle distantie tot zijn criminele subject uit de documentaire kwijt te zijn en ging tegen Axel Rüger in de aanval omdat het Van Goghmuseum die nare Okkie niet meer in het museum wil hebben. Hij heeft immers zijn straf er al op zitten. Axel Rüger ziet dat, volkomen terecht, anders. Mensen die schade hebben aangericht mogen, geheel volgens de huisregels, het museum niet meer in. Verweij’s poging Axel Rüger de kwaaie Pier toe te spelen werd door Rüger overtuigend gecounterd.

Laten we wel wezen, een cultureel onbenul als Okkie Durham – hij had het in de docu herhaaldelijk over de ‘aardappeltelers’ en meende dat schilderijen met dikke verf meer geld waard zijn – heeft sowieso niets te zoeken in welk museum dan ook.

Was Erbin Wennemars in DWDD een verkwikkende criticus van Durham, een welkom alternatief voor de schaapachtig lachende Van Nieuwkerk, in Pauw overklaste Axel Rüger zowel Vincent Verweij als Okkie.  Rügers woede was integer en overduidelijk. Zijn ogen spuwden vuur, zijn mond sprak logica en zijn houding was die van een verontwaardigde gentleman. Hij had zijn opgekropte emotie beter onder controle dan Verweij.

De medewerkers van het Van Goghmuseum kunnen zich gelukkig prijzen met zo’n directeur. De man is blijkbaar bereid als een leeuw te vechten voor het behoud van kunst die van ons allemaal is.

Het ongeloofwaardige excuus van Okkie negeerde hij volledig en Verweij werd aan het einde van het gesprek door de directeur van het Van Goghmuseum berispt. Axel Rüger vond de afsluiting van de documentaire waarin Okkie wandelend langs het museum tegen zijn vriendin blaatte dat hij gemakkelijk via ‘die muur en dat raam’ de Zonnebloemen kon stelen, een stuitende belediging.

Geef de man eens ongelijk.

Niet Okkie of Grunberg stalen de show bij Pauw. Dat deed Axel Rüger.

Ton Cremers

 

 

March 22nd, 2017

Posted In: diefstal uit museum, Museum thefts, Ton Cremers

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

No deathbed confession in Gardner heist

By Shelley Murphy and Stephen Kurkjian Globe Staff and Globe Correspondent October 01, 2016

By Shelley Murphy and Stephen Kurkjian Globe Staff and Globe Correspondent 

There will be no deathbed confession from a Connecticut mobster suspected by the FBI of having information about the whereabouts of $500 million worth of masterworks stolen from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum decades ago, his lawyer said.

The family of 80-year-old Robert Gentile, who is in federal custody awaiting trial on gun charges, was warned Wednesday by the US Marshals Service to “prepare to make end of life arrangements” because he is in critical condition, his lawyer said in a telephone interview.

Hartford attorney A. Ryan McGuigan said he rushed to a South Carolina hospital where Gentile is near death Friday and told him, “If at any time there was a critical moment to give up an old secret for the possibility of seeing your loved ones one more time, this was it.”

He suggested authorities would probably let Gentile die at home in Manchester, Conn., surrounded by his family if he gave up the artwork. However, McGuigan said, a teary-eyed Gentile responded, “But there’s no paintings.”

“Deathbed confessions are not uncommon,” said McGuigan, adding that even though his client has always insisted he has no information about the stolen paintings, he felt it would have been reckless not to explore the possibility that Gentile was ready to talk.

“The importance of the artwork to humanity has never escaped me,” McGuigan said. “And so with a glimmer of hope I went down to see if there was a possibility that there would be a miracle.”

The attorney said he called Gentile’s wife, who is also in failing health, and his son from the hospital room and handed the phone to the old mobster, who said his goodbyes and told them he loved them.

McGuigan declined to provide specifics about Gentile’s illness but said he was barely conscious during the nine hours he spent with him at the hospital Friday and “his systems are shutting down.”

However, he said his client, who had been on life support the day before, was better Friday and breathing on his own.

Gentile is one of a handful of low-level criminals who were identified by the FBI as persons of interest in the heist, and most of the others are dead.

Kristen Setera, a spokeswoman for the FBI’s Boston office, declined to comment on Gentile’s condition or what effect it might have on the ongoing investigation.

Anthony Amore, the Gardner museum’s security director who is working with the FBI to recover the stolen artwork, said, “We’re not sitting around waiting for deathbed confessions, we’re actively working every day.”

Two men disguised as police officers talked their way into the museum on Boston’s Fenway in the early hours of March 18, 1990, tied up two guards, and disappeared with 13 masterworks. They include three Rembrandts — including his only seascape, “Storm on the Sea of Galilee” — and a Vermeer.

The theft remains unsolved, despite a $5 million reward and promises of immunity. In 2013, the FBI announced it was confident it had identified the two thieves, both now deceased, but declined to name them. Authorities said they believed some of the artwork changed hands through organized crime circles, and moved from Boston to Connecticut and Philadelphia, where the trail went cold.

The FBI began focusing on Gentile in 2009 when the wife of Robert Guarente, another person of interest in the theft, told agents that before his death in 2004, he gave two of the stolen paintings to Gentile.

A federal prosecutor revealed in court earlier this year that Gentile last year offered to sell the paintings for $500,000 each to an undercover FBI agent. He also flunked a polygraph exam when he denied that he knew about plans to rob the Gardner museum beforehand and when he denied that he had the paintings or knew where they were, the prosecutor said.

But Gentile’s lawyer said his client was “just pretending” to have the paintings; and he disputed the reliability of the polygraph results.

Gentile was slated to stand trial in federal court in Hartford this month on gun charges, but it was postponed indefinitely after his health deteriorated and his lawyer sought a psychological examination to determine his mental competency.

Shelley Murphy can be reached at shelley.murphy@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @shelleymurph.

Source: No death bed confession in Gardner Museum heist – The Boston Globe

October 2nd, 2016

Posted In: diefstal uit museum, Museum thefts

Mafiosi klauten Van-Gogh-Gemälde

14 Jahre nach dem Raub zweier Gemälde von Vincent van Gogh aus dem Amsterdamer Van Gogh Museum sind die Werke in Italien gefunden worden.

Die italienische Polizei hatte die Gemälde im Millionen-Wert südlich von Neapel im Zuge von Drogenermittlungen gegen die Mafia entdeckt. Sie waren in dem Haus eines Drogenbosses der Camorra versteckt, der im Januar festgenommen worden war, berichteten italienische Medien.

«Ja, sie sind gefunden worden», sagte der Direktor des Museums, Axel Rüger. Ein Konservator des Van Gogh Museums hatte die Bilder im Auftrag der italienischen Justiz untersucht und die Echtheit festgestellt, wie das Museum mitteilte.

Bei den kostbaren Werken handelt es sich um das Gemälde «Zeegezicht bij Scheveningen» (Meeressicht bei Scheveningen 1882) und «Het uitgaan van de Hervormde Kerk te Nuenen» (Die Kirche von Nuenen mit Kirchgängern 1884/1885). Sie seien leicht beschädigt, aber in relativ gutem Zustand, bestätigte das Museum.

Sie waren im Dezember 2002 gestohlen worden. Die Diebe waren in der Nacht mit einer Leiter über das Dach in das Museum eingestiegen und unerkannt entkommen. Sie wurden später gefasst und 2005 zu Haftstrafen von mehr als drei Jahren verurteilt. Von den Gemälden fehlte aber bis jetzt jede Spur. Nach dem Einbruch hatte das Museum eine Belohnung von 100’000 Euro für das Aufspüren der Bilder ausgesetzt.

In den Top Ten der Kunstraube

«Auf diesen Moment haben wir 14 Jahre gewartet», sagte Museums-Direktor Axel Rüger. Wann die Gemälde zurück nach Amsterdam kommen und was die Mafia damit vorhatte, ist noch unklar. «Das sind echt, echt fantastische Neuigkeiten. Auch weil es total unerwartet ist. Niemand wagte noch zu träumen, dass sie auf einmal wieder auftauchen», sagte die niederländische Kulturministerin Jet Bussemaker in Den Haag.

Der italienische Premierminister Matteo Renzi und sein Kulturminister Dario Franceschini gratulierten den Ermittlern. Im Zuge der Ermittlungen wurden auch Güter im Wert von 20 Millionen Euro beschlagnahmt.

Der Wert der Bilder wird auf mehrere Millionen Euro geschätzt. Sie seien aber vor allem auch kunsthistorisch sehr wichtig, betonte das Museum. Laut FBI gehört der Diebstahl zu den «Top Ten» der Kunstraube der Welt.

(sda/chb)

Source: Mafiosi klauten Van-Gogh-Gemälde

September 30th, 2016

Posted In: diefstal uit museum, Museum thefts

Camorra, trovati due quadri di Van Gogh: rubati nel 2002

Sono stati ritrovati e sequestrati dalla Guardia di Finanza nel corso di un’operazione contro un gruppo di narcotrafficanti in affari con il clan camorristico degli Amato-Pagano, i cosiddetti scissionisti attivi nelle zone di Secondigliano e Scampia

di Titti Beneduce

shadow

«La congregazione lascia la chiesa riformata di Nuenen»
«La congregazione lascia la chiesa riformata di Nuenen»

Due quadri di Van Gogh rubati nel 2002 nell’omonimo museo di Amsterdam sono stati ritrovati e sequestrati dalla Guardia di Finanza nel corso di un’operazione contro un gruppo di narcotrafficanti in affari con il clan camorristico degli Amato – Pagano, i cosiddetti scissionisti attivi nelle zone di Secondigliano e Scampia. I dipinti erano custoditi nella cassaforte di uno degli arrestati e sono considerati «di valore inestimabile».

«La spiaggia di Scheveningen prima di una tempesta»
«La spiaggia di Scheveningen prima di una tempesta»
I quadri

I militari, coordinati dal colonnello Giovanni Salerno, si sono imbattuti nei quadri nel corso di un sequestro di beni per decine di milioni di euro al gruppo di narcotrafficanti, dedito soprattutto allo smercio di cocaina. Sequestrato anche un aereo biposto. Le due preziose opere d’arte vennero rubate nel 2002. Si tratta di «La congregazione lascia la chiesa riformata di Nuenen» e di «La spiaggia di Scheveningen prima di una tempesta», rispettivamente del 1885 e del 1882.

© RIPRODUZIONE RISERVATA

Source: Camorra, trovati due quadri di Van Gogh: rubati nel 2002

September 30th, 2016

Posted In: diefstal uit museum, Museum thefts

Tags: , , , ,

Museum raids gang: How police caught £57m heist masterminds

 

Image caption

This rhino horn at Norwich Castle Museum and Chinese artefacts at several other museums were the thieves’ targets

Months of covert phone monitoring led to the conviction of an organised crime gang involved in the theft of artefacts worth up to £57m from museums and an auction house. But who were they and how were they caught?

Fourteen members of the gang have been jailed for co-ordinating the thefts of high-value Chinese jade and rhino horn taken in Cambridge, Durham, Norwich and Lewes, East Sussex.

The men, from Cambridgeshire, Essex, Kent, London, the West Midlands and Northern Ireland, were convicted of conspiracy to steal but it took months of “hard graft” to bring them to justice.

Image copyright Durham Police

Image caption

(top, l-r) Richard Sheridan, Michael Hegarty, Richard O’Brien Jnr, John O’Brien, Daniel O’Brien, Chi Chong Donald Wong, Alan Clarke; (bottom, l-r) Patrick Clarke, John O’Brien, Daniel Flynn, Ashley Dad, Paul Pammen, Robert Gilbert-Smith, Terence McNamara

After a series of trials the gang members were handed jail sentences ranging from 15 months to more than six years.

‘Significant players’

Despite a four year police operation, many of the stolen items have not been found and the lead investigator admits they have also not found the “top person”.

However, linking the various crimes led to several “significant players”, some of whom were described in court as the gang’s “generals”.

Police were investigating a series of thefts when the gang’s links began to emerge.

Back in April 2012, Det Supt Adrian Green, a murder detective with Durham Constabulary, was called in to investigate the theft of two Chinese artefacts from Durham University’s Oriental Museum.

Because of the high value of the items, he was asked to oversee the case.

Lucrative target

A jade bowl and figurine worth about £2m had been taken after thieves broke through a wall. They hid the items in scrubland – but then apparently forgot where.

“Unbeknown to us, the group that had planned and commissioned this – these were the hiring people – had written the whole of [that raid] off by 7 April,” Mr Green said.

Image copyright Durham Police

Image caption

Thieves smashed a hole through a wall to steal items from the Durham museum

Image copyright Durham Police

Image caption

A jade bowl and porcelain figurine were taken in the Durham raid

Police found the artefacts on 13 April but by that time the gang had moved on to a far more lucrative target.

Thieves broke into the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge on 13 April, escaping with 18 mainly jade items which, together with the Durham artefacts, could have netted them up to £57m ($79m) on the “booming” Chinese auction market.

The following day Cambridgeshire Police called Mr Green asking if he had “any advice”.

“Obviously then we had a relationship with Cambridge going forward,” he said.

Image copyright Fitzwilliam Museum

Image caption

Chinese artefacts worth up to £15m were stolen from Cambridge’s Fitzwilliam Museum in April 2012

At this point the raids were formally linked by the method of entry and the kinds of items taken.

A jade water bowl from the Fitzwilliam “could definitely be a replacement for the one they didn’t get [in the Durham raid]”, Mr Green said.

In both cases the perpetrators were caught and jailed, but who was masterminding these audacious crimes?

‘Pattern of panic’

The telephone that would be key to the gang’s downfall was discovered as a result of the Durham investigation – found stuffed inside one of the suspects’ underpants.

Lee Wildman and Adrian Stanton were arrested for the raid, in Walsall, West Midlands, on 1 May 2012.

“Telephony was worked out. One handset was recovered from Wildman’s pants… and that’s how we started to put [this] together,” Mr Green said.

Image copyright PA

Image caption

A gang got away with 18 Chinese artefacts, none of which the museum is likely to see again, an expert said

Investigators noted a flurry of telephone calls and texts began as soon as the items stolen from Durham were apparently “lost” in the scrubland.

“You get a load of telephone calls pinging here, there and everywhere which kind of showed they were trying to get hold of the burglars from the Durham museum,” Mr Green said.

The calls “showed a pattern of panic” and one that made officers believe they “were in more of a controlling management position”.

“You start to understand that there’s another group in play here.”

Several other people were arrested in the same area as Wildman and Stanton and links were being made between those involved in both the Durham raid and the Cambridge theft.

Marvin Simos, 16, from east London – who was eventually sentenced with three others for carrying out the Fitzwilliam raid – had been seen checking out Durham Museum hours before the thieves struck. He was seen on CCTV at the time.

Image caption

Officers raided a site in Cambridgeshire as part of a multi-force operation on 10 September 2013

Telephone bills allowed police to link several raids in Durham with the Cambridge heist and thefts from Gorringes Auction House in Lewes and Norwich Castle Museum.

The thefts took place between November 2011 and April 2012.

The “pattern of panic” noted after the failed Durham raid was echoed after several other unsuccessful attempts.

‘Hard graft’

When thieves ran off with the wrong item from the Lewes auction house, and were tackled by the public, police noted 26 attempts to contact the gang member who had set up that raid. Those nearer the top of the gang’s hierarchy had clearly been desperate to find out what had gone wrong.

“You start analysing the telephones and that ultimately took us to a call to a vehicle insurance company that gave us the details of Richard ‘Kerry’ O’ Brien Jnr,” Mr Green said.

“That starts to point towards… [his family, part of an extended traveller family, was already known to police].”

Information cross-referenced with historical data held by Europol “highlighted some potential people – mainly the ‘Kerry’ O’Briens, Michael Hegarty and Daniel ‘Turkey’ O’Brien”.

All were related and divided their time between Cambridgeshire, Essex and Rathkeale, County Limerick.

Image copyright Durham Police

Image caption

A number of the convicted men were related to each other

At the end of June 2012 the Association of Chief Police Officers, the Home Office and the National Crime Agency were convinced by investigators that “something had to be done about the high-level people” involved.

Sixteen of those who carried out the actual raids had been convicted, “but nobody was taking on the bigger picture”.

Operation Griffin was born and Det Supt Adrian Green was asked to head up the team with Det Ch Insp Jim McCrorie from Cambridgeshire Police as his deputy.

Image caption

Officers from more than two dozen forces were involved in raids to capture the gang’s masterminds

How did the team get from a fledgling investigation to the point where 26 forces carried out 40 co-ordinated raids at locations across England and Ireland in September 2013, resulting in dozens of arrests?

“It’s just really hard work, in that you’ve got some names and intelligence and a whole raft of telephone numbers, but you don’t know who the users are,” Mr Green said.

“Then you put a load of work in to link the telephones to different people.

“They’re also to-ing and fro-ing between the European mainland and Ireland – it really is hard graft.”

Rhino in car park

Investigators then had to convince a court they had “an overwhelming case” proving certain people had been using certain phones in certain places.

Image copyright Durham Police

Image caption

Det Supt Adrian Green led Operation Griffin, the four-year covert investigation that linked the audacious raids

On 10 September 2013 police closed in on numerous addresses, arresting dozens of unsuspecting people.

“They didn’t know, until the raids, that Operation Griffin existed,” Mr Green said.

All 14 of those sentenced – 12 of whom were from the traveller community – were to be arrested during the raids, but at the time Daniel “Turkey” O’Brien was on the run for GBH after stealing a rhino horn from a man in a car park in Nottingham.

Another had gone on holiday to Europe “and never came back”. Daniel Flynn was eventually tracked down and arrested in 2015.

The gang operated on several levels – managers or “generals”, lieutenants and sub-lieutenants, Mr Green said.

‘Other leads’

“At the top you’ve got your ‘Kerry’ O’Brien, Hegarty, Turkey O’Brien group.

“The nucleus of this crime group is familial. If they’re in the inner sanctum, around family, then they’re the main people in terms of recce-ing, planning and commissioning this.

“As a sideline you’ve got Donald Chi Chong Wong who is obviously the buyer/smuggler facilitator. He’s more than just a fence, I would say.”

Image copyright Durham Police

Image caption

(Left to right) John “Kerry” O’Brien Jnr, Richard “Kerry” O’Brien Jnr, Michael Hegarty and Daniel “Turkey” O’Brien were said to be the more senior players in the crime gang

He said he would consider Richard “Kerry” O’Brien Jnr the most senior of the convicted group but added: “I don’t think we managed to get the top person.

“I know for a fact we haven’t got everyone involved. But I’ve not charged everybody and I do have leads for other individuals.”

Asked about the stolen Fitzwilliam artefacts yet to be recovered, Mr Green said: “We’ll always be looking for them but the chances of us recovering all of them is very remote. We might get the odd piece if we’re lucky.”

Roger Keverne, a Chinese art expert who helped value the museum’s stolen jade, agreed the haul was unlikely to be found if it had left the country.

However, the director of the Fitzwilliam Museum remains optimistic.

Tim Knox said: “They’re very well-known. They’re impossible to sell on the open market.

“I have every confidence that they’ll eventually come back to us. They’re probably under someone’s bed to tell you the truth.”

Source: Museum raids gang: How police caught £57m heist masterminds – BBC News

April 12th, 2016

Posted In: diefstal uit museum, Museum thefts

Rathkeale Rovers gang leaders convicted of £57m plot to steal rhino horn and Chinese artefacts

Paul Peachey Crime Correspondent

Senior leaders of a prolific international gang of rhino-horn thieves known as the Rathkeale Rovers have been convicted of museum raids that netted £57m. The convictions represent a major police success against a brutal criminal organisation.

Key planners from the gang – blamed for dozens of burglaries across Europe dating back to 2009 –  were convicted of two smash-and-grab raids in Britain within eight days. These targeted Chinese antiquities and each landed bigger hauls than the £14m Hatton Garden safety deposit heist.

The convictions of six members of one family deal a significant blow to the Irish Traveller gang whose criminality led to a pan-European police operation and sparked demands for action from the top of the UK Government.

It can now be reported for the first time that senior planners from the Rathkeale Rovers were among 14 people convicted over roles in nine attempted or planned raids in Britain. The raids included two at Durham’s Oriental Museum and the Fitzwilliam in Cambridge: Chinese antiquities worth up to £57m were stolen. Two-thirds of the haul has never been recovered and is believed to have been shipped out of the country to Far Eastern buyers.

“If you think the Hatton Garden break-in was big, this will blow that out of the water,” said Detective Superintendent Adrian Green, who led the investigation. “Because of the variations which can be given by auction houses the total value of the items targeted comes to anywhere between £18m and £57m. This illustrates just how massively profitable this trade was.”

The scene of the robbery at Durham University’s Oriental Museum, where two items where stolen (PA)

The gang, with strong links to the Irish town in Co Limerick from which it takes its name, has been linked to museum or auction house raids in at least 16 nations across Europe, rhino poaching in Southern Africa, and attempts to smuggle horn from the United States. At least eight of those convicted had links to the town.

Rhino horn can bring a higher profit than gold or cocaine, fuelled by strong demand from countries such as Vietnam and China, where it is prized for its supposed medicinal qualities. It has been known to command prices of around £45,000 a kilo. Investigators estimate nearly 100 rhino horns were stolen in just a few years to 2013.

The gang’s senior members – said to be from a small group of families from the nomadic community – escaped detection by remaining in the shadows while paying career criminals and the vulnerable to carry out the raids, and ensuring their silence with at times brutal violence.

Members of the extended Irish “Kerry” O’Brien family were identified through telephone data during a series of panicked calls after their hired hands “lost” a £16m haul from the Durham Oriental Museum in April 2012. After failing to find the antiquities that they stashed on waste ground on the outskirts of Durham, the gang stole 18 precious items from the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge just over a week later to fulfil an order for a jade bowl for a Far Eastern buyer. Those items, worth up to £40m, have never been recovered.

Dr Noah Charney, the founder of the Association of Research into Crimes against Art, said: “Theft on commission is largely a fictional concept – but it’s an exception when dealing with the Far East and China in particular.”

Along with the senior leadership, a Hong Kong middle-man, Chi Chong Donald Wong, who garnered orders for Far Eastern customers, and a raft of low-level criminals have also been found guilty after three trials that could not be reported until now for legal reasons. The convictions represent a rare series of victories against the gang, also believed to have been involved in fraud, fake goods, drug smuggling and violence.

With the world’s rhino population cut by 90 per cent since the 1970s, the gang focused on dead creatures in museums, which for years had failed to understand the value of their stocks before beefing up security in response to the raids. “They are a bit like banks where people can come in and touch the money,” said Supt Green.

Timeline: The Rathkeale Rovers’ raids

The Rathkeale Rovers have been linked to major rhino horn and antiquities hauls of the last six years. The following cases are a snapshot of the dozens of raids on auction houses, museums and private collections in more than 16 countries across the continent, and in South  Africa, some of which have been directly linked to the Rovers.

• April 2009, Cape Town, South Africa Two 19th century white rhino horns stolen from Iziko  Museum in Cape Town.
• December 2010, Munster, Germany Rhino horn stolen from zoo.
• April 2011, Coimbra, Portugal Two rhino horns stolen from Museum of Science, days after group of Irishman were given tour. Calls made at the time of the raid were linked to a phone belonging to the wife of a Rathkeale Rover.
• June 2011, Hamburg, Bamberg and Gifhorn, Germany Horns and a rhino jaw are taken from several targeted German museums.
• June 2011, Florence, Italy Thieves locked themselves in museum of natural history overnight before escaping with three horns.
• July 2011, Brussels, Belgium Rhino head stolen from natural history museum.
• July 2011, Czech Republic Hunting trophies are taken from a Czech castle during a nightly tour.
• July 2011, Blois, France  Rhino head stolen from the Museum of Natural History in Blois.
• July 2011, Gothenburg, Sweden Horn stolen from Gothenburg’s Museum of Natural History, with thieves sawing it off an exhibit during opening hours.
• December 2011, Paris, France Raiders use stun gun against guards before escaping with horn from the Museum of Hunting and Nature.
• January 2012, Durham The Durham Oriental Museum is targeted by an  Irishman who uses decorators’ tools in an apparent  attempt to prise open a  cabinet and steal a Ming Dynasty ceramic sculpture. The glass shatters and he is caught as he tries to  escape.
• February 2012, Norwich Four men walk into Castle Museum and try to carry off a rhino head. It’s too heavy, they drop it and they flee empty-handed. The criminal team hired by members of  the Rovers are convicted.
• March, 2012, Lewes The Rathkeale Rovers target Gorringes auction house in Lewes to steal a £60,000 rhino libation cup. Hired criminals from the Custom House gang leap over the counter of a showroom, grab the wrong item, and are  wrestled to the ground outside.
• April 2012, Durham and Cambridge Two raids net the gang up to £31m in Chinese antiquities. In the first raid against the Durham Oriental Museum, the gang escaped with a haul estimated at £2m-£16m but lose it after hiding it on  waste ground at the edge of the city. They hit the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge within eight days to find direct replacement items for Far Eastern buyers.

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Source: Rathkeale Rovers gang leaders convicted of £57m plot to steal rhino horn and Chinese artefacts

March 1st, 2016

Posted In: diefstal uit museum, Museum thefts, Ton Cremers

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January 4th, 2016

Posted In: Museum thefts, Ton Cremers

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November 24th, 2015

Posted In: Museum thefts, Ton Cremers

Colpo grosso al museo: trafugate 15 tele preziose di Bellini e Rubens

 

VERONA – Clamoroso colpo dei banditi al Museo di Castelvecchio a Verona, dove ieri sera sono stati rubati 15 preziosi quadriesposti nella galleria d’arte. Ad agire una banda di professionisti: tre malviventi armati con il volto coperto hanno minacciato e immobilizzato l’unica guardia giurata privata presente e la cassiera, che è stata immobilizzata e imbavagliata con il nastro adesivo e tenuta sotto costante controllo da parte di uno dei malviventi. Gli altri intanto hanno costretto il vigilante ad accompagnarli nelle sale dove hanno rubato i quadri.

Tra le opere trafugate ci sono “La Madonna della quaglia” del Pisanello, il “Ritratto di bambino con il disegno” di Giovanni Caroto, “San Girolamo penitente nel deserto” di Jacopo Bellini.

Tra le opere trafugate anche 5 dipinti del Tintoretto, e capolavori di Peter Paul Rubens, di Hans de Jode e di Giovanni Benini.

Sul posto per i rilievi gli uomini della Polizia Scientifica.Alcune delle opere rubate

A tarda ora sono arrivati anche il sindaco Flavio Tosi e la direttrice del Musei civici, Paola Marini che al momento del furto si trovava al Ristorante 12 Apostoli per ricevere l’omonimo premio.

«Erano dei professionisti, sapevano cosa prendere e conoscevano il Museo», ha detto Tosi. «Si tratta di 11 capolavori e quattro opere minori» ha spiegato Tosi sottolineando che «sicuramente qualcuno li ha mandati, perché si sono mossi con abilità, andando a colpo sicuro». «Tra i dipinti rubati – ha concluso – ci sono capolavori di Mantegna, Rubens, Pisanello; praticamente le opere più preziose esposte».

L’autorità giudiziaria ha delegato il Nucleo Tutela Patrimonio Artistico dei Carabinieri a seguire le indagini. E per questo da Roma – a quanto si apprende – sono partiti il comandante del Nucleo e diverse altre figure professionali della sezione Antiquariato. Ilvalore dele opere rubate è compreso tra i 10 e i 15 milioni di euro.

Il museo.

Il Museo Civico di Verona è ospitato al Castello Scaligero, noto come Castelvecchio. La fortezza venne fatta erigere nel 1354 da Cangrande della Scala. Restaurato e allestito tra il 1958 e il 1974 con il progetto di Carlo Scarpa, il museo si sviluppa in 29 sale distribuite su vari livelli e vi sono esposti oggetti paleocristiani, reperti di oreficeria longobarda, opere scultoree dal X al XIV secolo, armi ed armature medievali, dipinti dal Trecento al Settecento. Tra i dipinti, tele e pale ci sono opere di Pisanello, Andrea Mantegna, Jacopo Bellini, Giovanni Caroto, Paolo Caliari, Jacopo Tintoretto, Girolamo dai Libri, Francesco Morone, Paolo Farinati, Alessandro Turchi. I Musei Civici di Verona sono diretti da Paola Marini, storica dell’arte 63enne che dopo oltre 20 anni sta per lasciare l’incarico. Il ministro dei Beni culturali, Dario Franceschini, infatti l’ha nominata alla guida della Galleria dell’Accademia di Venezia, direzione che assumerà il prossimo 5 dicembre.

Venerdì 20 Novembre 2015, 10:29 – Ultimo aggiornamento: 14:37

Source: Colpo grosso al museo: trafugate 15 tele preziose di Bellini e Rubens

November 20th, 2015

Posted In: Museum thefts, Ton Cremers

Verona, colpo grosso al museo di Castelvecchio: trafugate 15 tele di Tintoretto, Mantegna e Bellini

Clamoroso colpo dei banditi al Museo di Castelvecchio a Verona, dove ieri sera sono stati rubati 15 preziosi quadri esposti nella galleria d’arte. Ad agire una banda di professionisti: tre malviventi con il colpo coperto hanno immobilizzato l’unica guardia giurata privata presente e la cassiera, poi hanno costretto il vigilante ad accompagnarli nelle sale dove hanno rubato i quadri che h

anno un valore compreso tra i 10 e i 15 milioni di euro.

Tra le opere trafugate ci sono «La Madonna della quaglia» del Pisanello, il «Ritratto di bambino con il disegno» di Giovanni Caroto, «San Girolamo penitente nel deserto» di Jacopo Bellini.

E anche 5 dipinti del Tintoretto, e capolavori di Peter Paul Rubens.

Sul posto per i rilievi gli uomini della Polizia Scientifica.

A tarda ora sono arrivati anche il sindaco Flavio Tosi e la direttrice del Musei civici, Paola Marini che al momento del furto si trovava al Ristorante 12 Apostoli per ricevere l’omonimo premio.

Tra le opere trafugate al Museo di Castelvecchio di Verona cinque dipinti del Tintoretto. Si tratta di «Madonna allattante», «Trasporto dell’arca dell’alleanza», «Banchetto di Baltassar», «Sansone» e «Giudizio di Salomone».

Le altre opere rubate sono: Dama delle licnidi« di Peter Paul Rubens, »Sacra famiglia con una santa« di Andrea Mantegna, »Ritratto maschile« della cerchia di Jacopo Tintoretto; »Ritratto di ammiraglio veneziano« della Bottega di Domenico Tintoretto; »Madonna della quaglia« del Pisanello, »San Girolamo penitente« di Jacopo Bellini, »Ritratto di giovane con disegno infantile« e »Ritratto di giovane benedettino« di Giovanni Francesco Caroto, »Porto di mare« di Hans de Jode e »Ritratto di Girolamo Pompei« di Giovanni Benini.

«Erano dei professionisti, sapevano cosa prendere e conoscevano il Museo». Lo ha detto il sindaco di Verona, Flavio Tosi, che questa notte si è trattenuto fino a tarda ora al Museo Civico di Castelvecchio, dove tre banditi hanno trafugato 15 opere d’arte. «Si tratta di 11 capolavori e quattro opere minori» ha spiegato Tosi sottolineando che «sicuramente qualcuno li ha mandati, perchè si sono mossi con abilità, andando a colpo sicuro». Secondo quanto si è appreso i banditi erano armati ed hanno minacciato la guardia giurata e la cassiera, che poi è stata immobilizzata e imbavagliata con il nastro adesivo e tenuta sotto costante controllo da parte di uno dei malviventi. Gli altri invece hanno trafugato i quadri.

Venerdì 20 Novembre 2015, 10:20 – Ultimo aggiornamento: 15:23
© RIPRODUZIONE RISERVATA

Source: Verona, colpo grosso al museo di Castelvecchio: trafugate 15 tele di Tintoretto, Mantegna e Bellini

November 20th, 2015

Posted In: Museum thefts, Ton Cremers

Assalto al museo, trafugate 17 opere d’arte Spariti Tintoretto, Mantegna e Bellini

A VERONA

Assalto al museo, trafugate 17 opere d’arte
Spariti Tintoretto, Mantegna e Bellini

Si ipotizza un colpo su mandato di un collezionista, tra i dipinti rubati al «Castelvecchio» anche la «Madonna della quaglia» di Pisanello

VERONA Assaltato il Museo di Castelvecchio a Verona, dove giovedì sera sono stati trafugati 17 preziosi quadri esposti.

Ad agire una banda di professionisti:

tre malviventi con il volto coperto hanno immobilizzato l’unica guardia giurata privata presente e la cassiera, poi hanno costretto il vigilante ad accompagnarli nelle sale dove hanno rubato i quadri.

«Sacra famiglia con una santa» di Andrea Mantegna

Questo l’elenco delle opere rubate:

«Madonna col bambino, detta madonna della quaglia» di Antonio Pisano detto Pisanello; «San Girolamo penitente» di Jacopo Bellini; «Sacra famiglia con una santa» di Andrea Mantegna; «Ritratto di giovane con disegno infantile» e «Ritratto di giovane benedettino» di Giovanni Francesco Caroto; «Madonna allattante», «Trasporto dell’arca dell’alleanza», «Banchetto di Baltassar», «Sansone» e «Giudizio di Salomone» di Jacopo Tintoretto; «Ritratto maschile» della cerchia di Jacopo Tintoretto; «Ritratto di ammiraglio veneziano» di Domenico Tintoretto; «Ritratto di ammiraglio veneziano» della Bottega di Domenico Tintoretto; «Dama delle licnidi» di Peter Paul Rubens; «Paesaggio» e «Porto di mare» di Hans de Jode e «Ritratto di Girolamo Pompei» di Giovanni Benini

«Madonna col bambino, detta madonna della quaglia» di Antonio Pisano detto Pisanello

Sul posto per i rilievi gli uomini

della Polizia Scientifica, ma anche il sindaco Flavio Tosi e la direttrice del Musei civici, Paola Marini che al momento del furto si trovava al Ristorante 12 Apostoli per ricevere l’omonimo premio.«Erano dei professionisti, sapevano cosa prendere e conoscevano il Museo». Lo ha detto il sindaco di Verona, Flavio Tosi, che questa notte si è trattenuto fino a tarda ora al Museo Civico . «Si tratta di 11 capolavori e di altre opere minori» ha spiegato Tosi sottolineando che «sicuramente qualcuno li ha mandati, perché si sono mossi con abilità, andando a colpo sicuro». «Tra i dipinti rubati – ha concluso – ci sono capolavori di Mantegna, Rubens, Pisanello; praticamente le opere più preziose esposte».

Il Museo di Castelvecchio è uno dei più importanti musei della città di Verona, nonché uno dei più interessanti dell’arte italiana ed europea. La fortezza venne fatta erigere nel 1354 da Cangrande della Scala. Restaurato e allestito tra il 1958 e il 1974 con il progetto di Carlo Scarpa, il museo si sviluppa in 29 sale distribuite su vari livelli e vi sono esposti oggetti paleocristiani, reperti di oreficeria longobarda, opere scultoree dal X al XIV secolo, armi ed armature medievali, dipinti dal Trecento al Settecento. Tra i dipinti, tele e pale ci sono opere di Pisanello, Andrea Mantegna, Jacopo Bellini, Giovanni Caroto, Paolo Caliari, Jacopo Tintoretto, Girolamo dai Libri, Francesco Morone, Paolo Farinati, Alessandro Turchi. I Musei Civici di Verona sono diretti da Paola Marini, storica dell’arte 63enne che dopo oltre 20 anni sta per lasciare l’incarico. Il ministro dei Beni culturali, Dario Franceschini, infatti l’ha nominata alla guida della Galleria dell’Accademia di Venezia, direzione che assumerà il prossimo 5 dicembre.

Source: Assalto al museo, trafugate 17 opere d’arte Spariti Tintoretto, Mantegna e Bellini

November 20th, 2015

Posted In: Museum thefts, Ton Cremers

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November 7th, 2015

Posted In: Museum thefts, Ton Cremers

A $15 million Pablo Picasso painting is back on display in a Paris museum after a long and unusual journey. ‘La Coiffeuse’ disappeared from a French storage room more than a decade ago, then turned up in a package from Belgium to New York last year — with a customs label calling it a $37 Christmas gift.

More: Stolen Picasso painting found in New Jersey makes its way back to Paris museum | Entertainment & Showbiz from CTV News

September 25th, 2015

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A $15 million Pablo Picasso painting is back on display in a Paris museum after a long and unusual journey. ‘La Coiffeuse’ disappeared from a French storage room more than a decade ago, then turned up in a package from Belgium to New York last year — with a customs label calling it a $37 Christmas gift.

More: Stolen Picasso painting found in New Jersey makes its way back to Paris museum | Entertainment & Showbiz from CTV News

September 25th, 2015

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It was supposed to be a day of festivities at a world-famous art museum out in the desert of western Uzbekistan. Instead, the stench of scandal sullied the occasion.

As dignitaries assembled in the region of Karakalpakstan on Sept. 4 to celebrate the centenary of Igor Savitsky, the founder of a museum housing a stunning collection of Russian avant-garde paintings, Uzbekistan’s art world is embroiled in a scandal featuring charges of forgery and embezzlement and suspicions of political machinations.

At the center of the controversy stands Marinika Babanazarova, the redoubtable hitherto director of the museum and the woman to whom Savitsky entrusted his life’s work when he died in 1984. By that time, the intrepid Soviet archeologist-turned-art-collector had amassed thousands of artworks that would otherwise have faced destruction, condemned by Soviet authorities as “decadent” and “bourgeois.” Savitsky hid the works far from Moscow’s prying eyes in Karakalpakstan, an arid autonomous region in western Uzbekistan, to preserve them for posterity.

Over the three decades since Savitsky’s death, Babanazarova has not only lovingly preserved his bequest, she has brought the Karakalpak State Art Museum to world prominence, casting reflected glory on Uzbekistan in the process.

But the 59-year-old former director now stands accused of plotting to forge paintings in the collection with the aim of selling off the originals for personal profit.

A report broadcast on Uzbekistan state TV news on Sept. 2 claimed that five paintings worth half a billion Uzbek som ($225,000) are missing from the museum and have been replaced with crude forgeries.

The report did not name Babanazarova, but it upped the ante in a war of words under way since late August, when she resigned. Babanazarova has since rescinded her resignation following public protests from her staff — an extraordinary show of support in a country where dissenters routinely end up behind bars.

Her departure also caused an outcry among art lovers abroad, prompting Uzbekistan’s Culture Ministry to step in to say that it “appreciates the former director’s contribution” but “urges the public to respect her decision to retire.”

By that time, Babanazarova had been summarily dismissed by the local authorities in Karakalpakstan.

Her resignation on Aug. 21 was made “under pressure and in a state of nervous stress,” she said in an open letter to Uzbekistan’s culture minister, Bahodir Ahmedov, posted on her Facebook page on August 29. The note prompted outpourings of support on social networks from local and foreign art lovers.

Pointing out that she would hardly damage an institution that has been her life’s work, she hinted at political machinations behind her troubles.

Babanazarova said she wrote to Uzbekistan’s Culture Ministry in Tashkent 12 times in recent weeks to seek support in the face of pressure from the Karakalpakstan local authorities, but that the minister had “thrown the museum to the wolves of small-time swindlers.”

Babanazarova did not name the “swindlers,” but appeared to imply that local officials wanted to get their hands on the valuable artworks.

Telephone calls to Uzbekistan’s Culture Ministry in Tashkent and the local Culture Ministry in Karakalpakstan went unanswered on Sept. 4.

As Babanazarova fights allegations of forgery and embezzlement in the Karakalpakstan museum, authorities claim to have uncovered art theft rings at other museums.

An official at the State Museum of Arts in Tashkent is under arrest on suspicion of selling off $18 million worth of paintings and replacing them with forgeries, Uzbek TV said on Sept. 2. A similar ring has been reported at a museum in the town of Angren.

The General Prosecutor’s Office repeatedly hung up on EurasiaNet.org’s calls for clarification on the investigations on Sept. 4.

More: Uzbekistan: Scandal Descends on Jewel of Avant-Garde Art | News | The Moscow Times

September 15th, 2015

Posted In: insider theft, Museum thefts

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It was supposed to be a day of festivities at a world-famous art museum out in the desert of western Uzbekistan. Instead, the stench of scandal sullied the occasion.

As dignitaries assembled in the region of Karakalpakstan on Sept. 4 to celebrate the centenary of Igor Savitsky, the founder of a museum housing a stunning collection of Russian avant-garde paintings, Uzbekistan’s art world is embroiled in a scandal featuring charges of forgery and embezzlement and suspicions of political machinations.

At the center of the controversy stands Marinika Babanazarova, the redoubtable hitherto director of the museum and the woman to whom Savitsky entrusted his life’s work when he died in 1984. By that time, the intrepid Soviet archeologist-turned-art-collector had amassed thousands of artworks that would otherwise have faced destruction, condemned by Soviet authorities as “decadent” and “bourgeois.” Savitsky hid the works far from Moscow’s prying eyes in Karakalpakstan, an arid autonomous region in western Uzbekistan, to preserve them for posterity.

Over the three decades since Savitsky’s death, Babanazarova has not only lovingly preserved his bequest, she has brought the Karakalpak State Art Museum to world prominence, casting reflected glory on Uzbekistan in the process.

But the 59-year-old former director now stands accused of plotting to forge paintings in the collection with the aim of selling off the originals for personal profit.

A report broadcast on Uzbekistan state TV news on Sept. 2 claimed that five paintings worth half a billion Uzbek som ($225,000) are missing from the museum and have been replaced with crude forgeries.

The report did not name Babanazarova, but it upped the ante in a war of words under way since late August, when she resigned. Babanazarova has since rescinded her resignation following public protests from her staff — an extraordinary show of support in a country where dissenters routinely end up behind bars.

Her departure also caused an outcry among art lovers abroad, prompting Uzbekistan’s Culture Ministry to step in to say that it “appreciates the former director’s contribution” but “urges the public to respect her decision to retire.”

By that time, Babanazarova had been summarily dismissed by the local authorities in Karakalpakstan.

Her resignation on Aug. 21 was made “under pressure and in a state of nervous stress,” she said in an open letter to Uzbekistan’s culture minister, Bahodir Ahmedov, posted on her Facebook page on August 29. The note prompted outpourings of support on social networks from local and foreign art lovers.

Pointing out that she would hardly damage an institution that has been her life’s work, she hinted at political machinations behind her troubles.

Babanazarova said she wrote to Uzbekistan’s Culture Ministry in Tashkent 12 times in recent weeks to seek support in the face of pressure from the Karakalpakstan local authorities, but that the minister had “thrown the museum to the wolves of small-time swindlers.”

Babanazarova did not name the “swindlers,” but appeared to imply that local officials wanted to get their hands on the valuable artworks.

Telephone calls to Uzbekistan’s Culture Ministry in Tashkent and the local Culture Ministry in Karakalpakstan went unanswered on Sept. 4.

As Babanazarova fights allegations of forgery and embezzlement in the Karakalpakstan museum, authorities claim to have uncovered art theft rings at other museums.

An official at the State Museum of Arts in Tashkent is under arrest on suspicion of selling off $18 million worth of paintings and replacing them with forgeries, Uzbek TV said on Sept. 2. A similar ring has been reported at a museum in the town of Angren.

The General Prosecutor’s Office repeatedly hung up on EurasiaNet.org’s calls for clarification on the investigations on Sept. 4.

More: Uzbekistan: Scandal Descends on Jewel of Avant-Garde Art | News | The Moscow Times

September 15th, 2015

Posted In: insider theft, Museum thefts

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The coins may have been stolen while the museum was understaffed during a strike over wages last month.

“We have been made aware of the incident, which is extremely unfortunate,” a PCS spokesman told the Edinburgh Evening News. “There is some speculation that this may have happened during the recent strike. If this was the case then management have put these exhibits at risk by opening the museum with a skeleton staff.”

He added, “We would hope that management would get around the table to resolve this issue,” he said, in reference to the ongoing pay dispute.

However, a spokesperson for the NMS said there was adequate security in place to protect the museum. “We continue to provide appropriate levels of trained staff in our galleries.”

Source: Medieval Coins Stolen from Scottish Museum – artnet News

September 14th, 2015

Posted In: Museum thefts

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Cinque antichi corni di rinoceronte, risalenti a due-tre secoli fa, sono stati rubati la scorsa notte nel Museo Zoologico di Napoli, nella centrale via Mezzocannone. Due dei cinque corni sono alti circa un metro; gli altri sono più piccoli. Il valore complessivo è stimato in alcune centinaia di migliaia di euro. Sul posto sono intervenuti i Carabinieri della compagnia «Centro» di Napoli, che stanno facendo le indagini.

Source: Ennesimo caso – Rubano antichi corni di rinoceronte al Museo Zoologico di Napoli | italia | Il Secolo XIX

September 12th, 2015

Posted In: Museum thefts

Cinque antichi corni di rinoceronte, risalenti a due-tre secoli fa, sono stati rubati la scorsa notte nel Museo Zoologico di Napoli, nella centrale via Mezzocannone. Due dei cinque corni sono alti circa un metro; gli altri sono più piccoli. Il valore complessivo è stimato in alcune centinaia di migliaia di euro. Sul posto sono intervenuti i Carabinieri della compagnia «Centro» di Napoli, che stanno facendo le indagini.

Source: Ennesimo caso – Rubano antichi corni di rinoceronte al Museo Zoologico di Napoli | italia | Il Secolo XIX

September 12th, 2015

Posted In: Museum thefts

Avignon : on a volé les chefs-d’oeuvre des compagnonsLa Fédération compagnonnique des métiers du Bâtiment d’Avignon (Vaucluse) s’est fait voler, fin août, cinq chefs-d’œuvre de compagnons dans son musée.

Source: Avignon : on a volé les chefs-d’oeuvre des compagnons

September 12th, 2015

Posted In: Museum thefts

Avignon : on a volé les chefs-d’oeuvre des compagnonsLa Fédération compagnonnique des métiers du Bâtiment d’Avignon (Vaucluse) s’est fait voler, fin août, cinq chefs-d’œuvre de compagnons dans son musée.

Source: Avignon : on a volé les chefs-d’oeuvre des compagnons

September 12th, 2015

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September 4th, 2015

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September 1st, 2015

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August 17th, 2015

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July 30th, 2015

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February 28th, 2015

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August 29th, 2014

Posted In: diefstal uit museum, fakes and forgeries, insider theft, Museum thefts, vervalsing

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May 23rd, 2014

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Wat hebben Rudy Fuchs, Ruud Spruit, Gerard de Klein, Jelle Reumer en Emily Ansenk met elkaar gemeen?

site-iconmuseumbeveiliging.com/2014/01/27/wat-hebben-ruud-spruit-gerard-de-klein-jelle-reumer-en-emily-ansenk-met-elkaar-gemeen/
27/01/2014 – 09:47De naderende heropening van De Kunsthal te Rotterdam (1 februari 2014) na een ingrijpende verbouwing waarbij het klimaat en de beveiliging onder handen werden genomen, roept de publicitair wanstaltige toestand rondom de inbraak en diefstal van oktober 2012 weer in herinnering. Niet in het minst omdat de directrice van De Kunsthal onlangs in De Volkskrant verklaarde dat de beveiliging van De Kunsthal nu ‘goed’ is. Ansenk schaart zich in het rijtje directeuren van geslachtofferde musea die zich, nadat het fout ging, in de publiciteit ineens ontpopten als experts op het gebied van beveiliging en criminaliteit.Nog geen halve dag nadat een stelletje Roemeense losers kinderlijk eenvoudig wisten in te breken in De Kunsthal verklaarde Ansenk doodleuk dat de beveiliging van haar kunsthal ‘state of the art’ was. Een faux pas door emotie over de inbraak? Een vergeeflijke faux pas, ware het niet dat Ansenk in de dagen na die inbraak zowel in De Volkskrant als de NRC de strekking van dat ‘state of the art’ in andere woorden wederom benadrukte. In De Volkskrant werd ze geciteerd met “Er is geen aanleiding de beveiliging aan te passen”. Kan het nog zouter?Heb ik over dit gestuntel in de media al genoeg gezegd? Je zou het haast denken wanneer je de ingezonden brief van Raaskallende Ruudleest in de NRC van 23 oktober 2012. Spruit, want die Ruud is het, smeedt in zijn brief een band met de directeur van De Kunsthal, Emily Ansenk, waar – ik kan me niet anders voorstellen – Ansenk niet blij mee kan zijn. Ansenks buurman Jelle Reumer – directeur van het Rotterdamse Natuurhistorisch – sprong voor Ansenk en Raaskallende Ruud in de bres in een hysterische mail aan mij. Er ontplooit zich een trend, een trend die jaren geleden werd ingezet door Rudy Fuchs, chagrijnig fulminerend tegen een TV journalist nadat een schilderij van Picasso met een aardappelschilmesje was bewerkt door een bezoeker. Als museumdirecteur geef je na incidenten blijkbaar nooit toe dat de beveiliging gefaald heeft, of minstens kritisch onder de loep moet worden genomen, maar je schreeuwt stampvoetend uit dat die beveiliging ‘state of the art’ (Ansenk), ‘geavanceerd’ (Ruud Spruit) of zonder meer ‘goed’ (Fuchs) is. Om je woorden kracht bij te zetten, geef je desnoods de criminelen een compliment met hun ‘professionaliteit’ (Spruit). Er ligt terrein braak  voor mediatrainers..

Overigens vind ik niet dat in 1999 de beveiliging van het Stedelijk Museum onvoldoende was toen dat Picasso schilderij werd beschadigd. Niet de beveiliging faalde, maar Rudy Fuchs, niet bepaald bekend vanwege zijn bescheidenheid, faalde als woordvoerend directeur en viel als een amateur in de kuil die een volhardende journalist voor hem groef. Een pijnlijke TV vertoning.

Gerard de Klein, met in zijn kielzog conservator Yvonne Ploumen mailden mij ziedend van woede toen ik na de verwoestende brand in het Armando Museum in de pers verklaarde dat er onvoldoende afstemming was geweest tussen de gemeente Amersfoort, eigenaar van de Elleboogkerk waarin het museum gehuisvest was, en het museum. Hoe was het anders mogelijk dat men bezig ging met brandgevaarlijke dakwerkzaamheden terwijl het museum de belangrijkste tentoonstelling uit zijn bestaan had? Een tentoonstelling met kostbare bruiklenen die allemaal in de brand verloren gingen. Ik zou de relatie tussen het museum en de gemeente schade toebrengen met mijn opmerking in de pers, aldus Ploumen in een mail aan mij. Wie wat bewaart, die heeft wat. Mails als die van Ploumen zijn parels in mijn archief. Toen de gemeente Amersfoort de toezegging het museum te herbouwen heroverwoog, inmiddels sloeg ook in Nederland de financiële crisis toe, hadden De Klein noch Ploumen enige boodschap aan de relatie met de gemeente en gingen in de pers helemaal los over de onbetrouwbaarheid van de gemeente. De gemeente zou woordbreuk plegen.

Had die brand in het Armando Museum voorkomen kunnen worden? Natuurlijk. Strikt genomen kan, met uitzondering van brandstichting, iedere brand voorkomen worden. Had voorkomen kunnen worden dat de hele collectie verloren ging? Absoluut! Maar: er was vanuit het museum geen toezicht tijdens de werkzaamheden, het museum bezat geen calamiteitenplan met een onderdeel gewijd aan de collectie en er waren geen afspraken met de brandweer over het redden van de collectie, echter…De Klein en Ploumen wasten hun handen in onschuld en stelden zich als slachtoffers op. Ploumen mag nu de kar trekken bij het nieuwe, virtuele Armando Museum in Amelisweerd en Gerard de Klein vond onderdak als directeur in museumgoudA. Daar liet hij van zich spreken door de verkoop van een schilderij van Dumas en had hij in 2012 de pech dat er ingebroken werd en een kostbare monstrans gestolen. Het zit de man niet mee. Had die diefstal voorkomen kunnen worden? Ja. Treft Gerard de Klein hier blaam? Nee, maar ik ben wel nieuwsgierig wat de beste man gedaan heeft om herhaling te voorkomen.

Jelle Reumer van het Natuurhistorisch vond in zijn eerder genoemde arrogante en hysterische mail aan mij dat ik mijn pijlen niet moest richten op zijn buurvrouw van De Kunsthal, maar op de overheid die beknibbelt op budgetten waardoor de musea niet goed beveiligd kunnen worden. Het deed mij goed te lezen dat ook Jelle Reumer van mening is dat de musea niet ‘state of the art’, of geavanceerd beveiligd zijn. Echter, had de inbraak en diefstal door neushoorndieven in zijn museum iets te maken met teruglopende budgetten? Niets, helemaal niets. Het was de inertie van Reumer die deze diefstal mogelijk maakte. Vanuit zijn museum – er schort in het museum iets aan de loyaliteit met directeur Reumer – bereikte mij de informatie dat Jelle Reumer een waarschuwing door de politie terzijde had gelegd en geweigerd had de neushoorns te voorzien van replica hoorns. Een stap die in Naturalis terecht wel genomen werd toen wereldwijd een hausse aan inbraken plaatsvond in natuurhistorische musea.

Wat hebben Rudy Fuchs, Ruud Spruit, Gerard de Klein, Jelle Reumer en Emily Ansenk met elkaar gemeen?

De beveiliging van het Westfries Museum was, wat Raaskallende Ruud dan ook beweerde, ver onder de maat. Ruud verwaarloosde die beveiliging jarenlang en sloeg waarschuwingen van zijn beveiligingsinstallateur jaar na jaar in de wind. “We gaven feitelijk nooit aandacht aan de beveiliging” verklaarde zijn conservator ooit tijdens een receptie. Maar, Ruud mocht ondanks aantoonbaar falen op zijn post blijven.

De Klein verwaarloosde zijn verantwoordelijkheid als directeur van het Armando Museum en verzuimde, hoewel zijn museum deelnam aan een door het Mondriaanfonds gesubsidieerd project, te zorgen voor een calamiteitenplan voor zijn museum. Maar, Gerard mocht ondanks aantoonbaar falen op zijn post blijven.

De beveiliging van De Kunsthal, dat was geen nieuws, was onvoldoende en er werden geen aanvullende maatregelen getroffen toen er een kostbare tentoonstelling werd ingericht. Maar, Emily mocht ondanks aantoonbaar falen en domme presentaties in de publiciteit op haar post blijven.

Jelle Reumer weigerde de in zijn museum aanwezige hoorns van neushoorns te beveiligen, maar ook Jelle, het wordt eentonig, mocht ondanks aantoonbaar falen op zijn post blijven.

Werd Rudy Fuchs gecorrigeerd nadat hij zo onhandig manoeuvreerde in een TV interview? Niet dat ik weet…misschien achter de schermen?

Zo lang eindverantwoordelijken niet op hun verantwoordelijkheid worden aangesproken en aantoonbaar falen geen consequenties heeft, zal het aanmodderen blijven met de beveiliging van musea.

Ton Cremers

27 januari 2014

Museumbeveiliging, Ton Cremers » Blog Archive » Wat hebben Rudy Fuchs, Ruud Spruit, Gerard de Klein, Jelle Reumer en Emily Ansenk met elkaar gemeen?.

January 27th, 2014

Posted In: blogwereld, brand museum, Columns Ton Cremers, De Kunsthal, diefstal, diefstal uit museum, Jelle Reumer, Kunsthal, museum security, Museum thefts, Ton Cremers

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September 11th, 2013

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Ben Zuidema (Henk Schutten): ‘Geroofde werken uit de Kunsthal niet verbrand’

03/09/2013 – 08:09‘Geroofde werken uit de Kunsthal niet verbrand’

De schilderijen die vorig jaar uit de Kunsthal werden gestolen, zijn niet verbrand. Een Nederlandse zakenman in Roemenië zegt daarvoor het bewijs te kunnen leveren. Begin deze maand nam hij contact op met de Limburgse privédetective Ben Zuidema.

HENK SCHUTTEN

Ben Zuidema heeft vanaf het begin af aan weinig waarde gehecht aan het verhaal dat de schilderijen uit de Kunsthal door de Roemeense dieven in een kachel zijn verbrand. Waarom zouden ze?

“Voor de dieven zijn die schilderijen hun levensverzekering,” legt de Limburgse privédetective uit. “De moeder van een van de verdachten heeft dat verhaal verzonnen om haar zoon te beschermen. Ze hoopte dat de politie zou stoppen met zoeken en wist niet dat op vernietiging van kunst in Roemenië twintig jaar celstraf staat.”

Zuidema is ervan overtuigd dat alle schilderijen nog in goede staat verkeren. Maar of ze op korte termijn terug zullen keren, betwijfelt hij: “De dieven willen niet vertellen waar ze zijn. En de Roemeense autoriteiten weigeren zich door een paar boefjes te laten chanteren.”

Zuidema’s vermoedens werden op 6 augustus bevestigd toen hij een bericht ontving van een Nederlandse zakenman die al ruim twintig jaar in Roemenië woont en werkt. De man verzekerde dat alle doeken nog geheel intact zijn. De dieven zijn bereid de schilderijen aan de Nederlandse autoriteiten terug te geven op twee voorwaarden. Ze willen strafvermindering en in Nederland berecht worden.

Dat het Roemeense onderzoek naar de vermeende asresten van de schilderijen – waarin meer dan honderd jaar oude spijkers en verfsporen zouden zijn aangetroffen – doorgestoken kaart is, beweert de zakenman eenvoudig te kunnen aantonen. Er zaten volgens hem helemaal geen spijkers in de doeken. Die waren door de dieven in Nederland al uit de sponningen gehaald, zodat de doeken konden worden opgerold.

Sterker nog, zo beweert de Nederlander, de moeder zou de verklaring dat de doeken waren vernietigd, onder grote druk van de Roemeense procureur van justitie hebben afgelegd. Een advocaat mocht bij dat gesprek niet aanwezig zijn. ‘De volgende dag is ze met advocaat teruggegaan om de verklaringen te herroepen.’ In de tussentijd zouden de verdachten zijn mishandeld. Advocate Maria Vasii, met wie de Nederlander zegt samen te werken, kreeg hen pas na drie uur te zien.

Ook Vasii, die aan de vooravond van het proces ‘spectaculaire onthullingen’ aankondigde, zou volgens de man zijn bedreigd. ‘Op de terugweg bleken vijf wielmoeren van het voorwiel van haar auto te zijn losgedraaid. Slingerend kon ze ongedeerd de vluchtstrook bereiken.’

Het laatste contact tussen Zuidema en de Nederlandse zakenman dateert van 10 augustus. Zuidema had gevraagd om een bewijs dat de schilderijen nog in goede staat verkeren, bijvoorbeeld een foto van de voor- en achterkant van de doeken met een krant van recente datum. De zakenman beloofde zijn best te doen, maar kon niets garanderen.

Het verhaal dat de schilderijen vernietigd zijn, komt de Roemeense autoriteiten goed uit, schrijft hij. Alle relaties en contactpersonen van de verdachten worden door de politie nauwlettend in de gaten gehouden, in de hoop dat een spoor naar de bergplaats van de schilderijen leidt. Voor een foto zou iemand terug moeten keren naar die plek met het risico gevolgd te worden. ‘In dat geval zal waarschijnlijk door de autoriteiten worden gemeld dat alles in de kachel is gegaan. Vervolgens wordt een vriendje van de procureur naar voren geschoven om met de verzekeringsmaatschappij te onderhandelen,’ stelt de Nederlander. ‘Ik doe al veertig jaar zaken in Roemenië en durf derhalve te claimen te weten hoe de hazen lopen.’

Alles wijst erop dat de Nederlandse zakenman weet waarover hij praat, zegt Zuidema. “Voordat de rechtszaak begon, wist hij al dat het proces verdaagd zou worden, zoals inderdaad gebeurde. In een van de mails schrijft hij ook dat de dieven zelfs al contact hebben opgenomen met de maatschappij in Nederland waar de schilderijen waren verzekerd. De naam van die contactpersoon wordt genoemd.”

Hoewel de man Zuidema met klem verzocht geen contact op te nemen met de Nederlandse politie, heeft de detective dat wel gedaan. “Dat doe ik altijd. Je kunt geen deals maken met criminelen buiten de politie om. Dan laat je je voor het karretje van de misdadigers spannen.”

Geen goed woord heeft Zuidema daarom over voor de zich ‘kunstjager’ noemende Amsterdammer die onlangs drie gestolen kunstwerken uit een museum in Venlo terugbezorgde. De man weigerde de namen te noemen van zijn contactpersonen. “Hij dekt de criminelen. Dat lokt nieuwe diefstallen uit. Ik zou zoiets nooit doen.”

De reputatie van de 76-jarige Zuidema strekt tot ver over de landsgrenzen. De afgelopen veertig jaar wist hij in samenwerking met politiediensten in binnen- en buitenland een groot aantal spraakmakende kunstroven op te lossen. Zijn naam vestigde hij in 1976 toen hij 118 Picasso’s terugbezorgde die gestolen waren uit het Pauselijk Paleis in Avignon.Daarna wist hij onder meer vermiste werken van Rubens en Breughel op te sporen en werd met zijn hulp een roversbende opgerold die op het punt stond valse schilderijen van de negentiende-eeuwse Engelse schilder William Turner te verkopen.

Vier jaar geleden wist Zuidema acht van de negen meesterwerken te achterhalen die in 1987 uit de galerie van Robert Noortman in Maastricht werden gestolen. De in 2007 overleden kunsthandelaar bleek indertijd zelf opdracht te hebben gegeven tot de diefstal en had een doek van Meindert Hobbema zelfs hoogstpersoonlijk in de kachel gegooid.

Zuidema bracht de Noortmandiefstal in nauwe samenwerking met een team van Amsterdamse rechercheurs van de Nationale Recherche – die hoog over de Limburgse speurder opgeven – tot een goed einde. Voor het terugbezorgen van de Noortmanschilderijen heeft de detective recht op dertig procent van de huidige waarde van de schilderijen, een miljoenenbedrag dat hij moet delen met het Art Loss Register, ‘s werelds grootste databank van gestolen kunst, die namens de verzekeraars optreedt. De beloning laat na vijf jaar nog steeds op zich wachten.

Om het geld is het hem helemaal niet te doen, zegt hij. Hij staat aan het hoofd van het NOB, een instituut, dat jaarlijks zo’n zeventig gecertificeerde privérechercheurs aflevert, ‘het hoogste slagingspercentage in Nederland’, zo meldt hij trots. Zuidema begon het opleidingsinstituut omdat hij het wat kalmer aan wilde doen, hoewel dat tot dusver nog niet erg wil lukken.

Nog steeds loopt hij regelmatig grote risico’s bij het opsporen van gestolen kunst. ‘Bloedlink’ is hij daarom over wat er gebeurde toen hij door een gefortuneerde Almelose zakenman werd ingeschakeld om zes gestolen schilderijen, waaronder een werk van Jan Sluijters, terug te bezorgen. Het spoor leidde naar een kunsthandelaar uit Diemen, Hans Günther S., volgens Zuidema een ‘spin in het web van gestolen kunst, zowel echt als vals’. De Diemenaar liet Zuidema in maart 2011 weten dat hij bereid was de schilderijen terug te verkopen. De detective beloofde contact met de verzekeraar op te nemen, maar schakelde zoals altijd meteen de politie in.

Tijdens een pseudokoop, waarbij twee agenten van de Nationale Rijksrecherche Regio Twente zich voordeden als verzekeringsagenten, moest de Diemenaar in de val worden gelokt. De zaak was vrijwel beklonken, toen S. zich liet ontglippen dat hij ook nog wel een schilderij van Frans Hals – met een geschatte waarde van vijftien miljoen – kon terugbezorgen. Het doek was in 2011 uit het Leerdamse museum Hofje van Aerden gestolen. Toen de Twentse rechercheurs dat hoorden, verloren ze al hun belangstelling voor de Almelose schilderijen. Het onderzoek werd overgedragen aan een team van de politie Rotterdam-Rijnmond.

De Frans Hals werd dankzij Zuidema terugbezorgd, de Almelose schilderijen niet. Hans Günther S. werd veroordeeld tot dertig maanden cel, waarvan zes voorwaardelijk, maar ging in beroep. Hij loopt nog vrij rond. De Almelose opdrachtgever is zijn schilderijen nog steeds kwijt en Zuidema kan fluiten naar zijn honorarium.

Een contactpersoon uit de Amsterdamse onderwereld heeft hem bovendien laten weten dat de bende die verantwoordelijk was voor de diefstal van de Frans Hals, nu achter hem aan zit. “Ik loop de risico’s, krijg geen geld en de agenten laten zich trots met witte handschoenen fotograferen met de Frans Hals, terwijl ze mij toch op z’n minst enige erkenning zouden kunnen geven voor mijn werk. ”

De politie Rotterdam-Rijnmond doet ook het onderzoek naar de roof in de Kunsthal, zodat Zuidema – op z’n zachtst gezegd – gemengde gevoelens koestert over de samenwerking. Vandaar dat hij eerst de Amsterdamse rechercheurs raadpleegde met wie hij de Noortmanzaak oploste, toen de zakenman in Roemenië contact met hem opnam. Die verwezen hem door naar de chef van het Rotterdamse rechercheteam die, daar twijfeltZuidema niet aan, ongetwijfeld zijn Roemeense collega’s zal hebben ingelicht.

Het moet dus heel raar lopen als de Kunsthalschilderijen – de grootste kunstroof van de afgelopen jaren – op korte termijn weer terugkeren, vreest de detective. “Ik wil me graag sterk maken om de kunst terug te brengen. Maar over de inwilliging van de eisen van de dieven – uitlevering aan Nederland en strafvermindering – kan alleen justitie beslissen. En dan moeten de Roemeense autoriteiten daar ook nog eens mee akkoord gaan.”

De kans daarop acht Zuidema niet bijster groot. “Ik kan alleen bemiddelen, maar dan moeten de autoriteiten in Nederland en Roemenië wel mee willen spelen.”

 

 Museumbeveiliging, Ton Cremers » Blog Archive » Ben Zuidema Henk Schutten: ‘Geroofde werken uit de Kunsthal niet verbrand’.

September 3rd, 2013

Posted In: Kunsthal, Michel van Rijn, Museum thefts

Ben Zuidema (Henk Schutten): ‘Geroofde werken uit de Kunsthal niet verbrand’

03/09/2013 – 08:09‘Geroofde werken uit de Kunsthal niet verbrand’

De schilderijen die vorig jaar uit de Kunsthal werden gestolen, zijn niet verbrand. Een Nederlandse zakenman in Roemenië zegt daarvoor het bewijs te kunnen leveren. Begin deze maand nam hij contact op met de Limburgse privédetective Ben Zuidema.

HENK SCHUTTEN

Ben Zuidema heeft vanaf het begin af aan weinig waarde gehecht aan het verhaal dat de schilderijen uit de Kunsthal door de Roemeense dieven in een kachel zijn verbrand. Waarom zouden ze?

“Voor de dieven zijn die schilderijen hun levensverzekering,” legt de Limburgse privédetective uit. “De moeder van een van de verdachten heeft dat verhaal verzonnen om haar zoon te beschermen. Ze hoopte dat de politie zou stoppen met zoeken en wist niet dat op vernietiging van kunst in Roemenië twintig jaar celstraf staat.”

Zuidema is ervan overtuigd dat alle schilderijen nog in goede staat verkeren. Maar of ze op korte termijn terug zullen keren, betwijfelt hij: “De dieven willen niet vertellen waar ze zijn. En de Roemeense autoriteiten weigeren zich door een paar boefjes te laten chanteren.”

Zuidema’s vermoedens werden op 6 augustus bevestigd toen hij een bericht ontving van een Nederlandse zakenman die al ruim twintig jaar in Roemenië woont en werkt. De man verzekerde dat alle doeken nog geheel intact zijn. De dieven zijn bereid de schilderijen aan de Nederlandse autoriteiten terug te geven op twee voorwaarden. Ze willen strafvermindering en in Nederland berecht worden.

Dat het Roemeense onderzoek naar de vermeende asresten van de schilderijen – waarin meer dan honderd jaar oude spijkers en verfsporen zouden zijn aangetroffen – doorgestoken kaart is, beweert de zakenman eenvoudig te kunnen aantonen. Er zaten volgens hem helemaal geen spijkers in de doeken. Die waren door de dieven in Nederland al uit de sponningen gehaald, zodat de doeken konden worden opgerold.

Sterker nog, zo beweert de Nederlander, de moeder zou de verklaring dat de doeken waren vernietigd, onder grote druk van de Roemeense procureur van justitie hebben afgelegd. Een advocaat mocht bij dat gesprek niet aanwezig zijn. ‘De volgende dag is ze met advocaat teruggegaan om de verklaringen te herroepen.’ In de tussentijd zouden de verdachten zijn mishandeld. Advocate Maria Vasii, met wie de Nederlander zegt samen te werken, kreeg hen pas na drie uur te zien.

Ook Vasii, die aan de vooravond van het proces ‘spectaculaire onthullingen’ aankondigde, zou volgens de man zijn bedreigd. ‘Op de terugweg bleken vijf wielmoeren van het voorwiel van haar auto te zijn losgedraaid. Slingerend kon ze ongedeerd de vluchtstrook bereiken.’

Het laatste contact tussen Zuidema en de Nederlandse zakenman dateert van 10 augustus. Zuidema had gevraagd om een bewijs dat de schilderijen nog in goede staat verkeren, bijvoorbeeld een foto van de voor- en achterkant van de doeken met een krant van recente datum. De zakenman beloofde zijn best te doen, maar kon niets garanderen.

Het verhaal dat de schilderijen vernietigd zijn, komt de Roemeense autoriteiten goed uit, schrijft hij. Alle relaties en contactpersonen van de verdachten worden door de politie nauwlettend in de gaten gehouden, in de hoop dat een spoor naar de bergplaats van de schilderijen leidt. Voor een foto zou iemand terug moeten keren naar die plek met het risico gevolgd te worden. ‘In dat geval zal waarschijnlijk door de autoriteiten worden gemeld dat alles in de kachel is gegaan. Vervolgens wordt een vriendje van de procureur naar voren geschoven om met de verzekeringsmaatschappij te onderhandelen,’ stelt de Nederlander. ‘Ik doe al veertig jaar zaken in Roemenië en durf derhalve te claimen te weten hoe de hazen lopen.’

Alles wijst erop dat de Nederlandse zakenman weet waarover hij praat, zegt Zuidema. “Voordat de rechtszaak begon, wist hij al dat het proces verdaagd zou worden, zoals inderdaad gebeurde. In een van de mails schrijft hij ook dat de dieven zelfs al contact hebben opgenomen met de maatschappij in Nederland waar de schilderijen waren verzekerd. De naam van die contactpersoon wordt genoemd.”

Hoewel de man Zuidema met klem verzocht geen contact op te nemen met de Nederlandse politie, heeft de detective dat wel gedaan. “Dat doe ik altijd. Je kunt geen deals maken met criminelen buiten de politie om. Dan laat je je voor het karretje van de misdadigers spannen.”

Geen goed woord heeft Zuidema daarom over voor de zich ‘kunstjager’ noemende Amsterdammer die onlangs drie gestolen kunstwerken uit een museum in Venlo terugbezorgde. De man weigerde de namen te noemen van zijn contactpersonen. “Hij dekt de criminelen. Dat lokt nieuwe diefstallen uit. Ik zou zoiets nooit doen.”

De reputatie van de 76-jarige Zuidema strekt tot ver over de landsgrenzen. De afgelopen veertig jaar wist hij in samenwerking met politiediensten in binnen- en buitenland een groot aantal spraakmakende kunstroven op te lossen. Zijn naam vestigde hij in 1976 toen hij 118 Picasso’s terugbezorgde die gestolen waren uit het Pauselijk Paleis in Avignon.Daarna wist hij onder meer vermiste werken van Rubens en Breughel op te sporen en werd met zijn hulp een roversbende opgerold die op het punt stond valse schilderijen van de negentiende-eeuwse Engelse schilder William Turner te verkopen.

Vier jaar geleden wist Zuidema acht van de negen meesterwerken te achterhalen die in 1987 uit de galerie van Robert Noortman in Maastricht werden gestolen. De in 2007 overleden kunsthandelaar bleek indertijd zelf opdracht te hebben gegeven tot de diefstal en had een doek van Meindert Hobbema zelfs hoogstpersoonlijk in de kachel gegooid.

Zuidema bracht de Noortmandiefstal in nauwe samenwerking met een team van Amsterdamse rechercheurs van de Nationale Recherche – die hoog over de Limburgse speurder opgeven – tot een goed einde. Voor het terugbezorgen van de Noortmanschilderijen heeft de detective recht op dertig procent van de huidige waarde van de schilderijen, een miljoenenbedrag dat hij moet delen met het Art Loss Register, ‘s werelds grootste databank van gestolen kunst, die namens de verzekeraars optreedt. De beloning laat na vijf jaar nog steeds op zich wachten.

Om het geld is het hem helemaal niet te doen, zegt hij. Hij staat aan het hoofd van het NOB, een instituut, dat jaarlijks zo’n zeventig gecertificeerde privérechercheurs aflevert, ‘het hoogste slagingspercentage in Nederland’, zo meldt hij trots. Zuidema begon het opleidingsinstituut omdat hij het wat kalmer aan wilde doen, hoewel dat tot dusver nog niet erg wil lukken.

Nog steeds loopt hij regelmatig grote risico’s bij het opsporen van gestolen kunst. ‘Bloedlink’ is hij daarom over wat er gebeurde toen hij door een gefortuneerde Almelose zakenman werd ingeschakeld om zes gestolen schilderijen, waaronder een werk van Jan Sluijters, terug te bezorgen. Het spoor leidde naar een kunsthandelaar uit Diemen, Hans Günther S., volgens Zuidema een ‘spin in het web van gestolen kunst, zowel echt als vals’. De Diemenaar liet Zuidema in maart 2011 weten dat hij bereid was de schilderijen terug te verkopen. De detective beloofde contact met de verzekeraar op te nemen, maar schakelde zoals altijd meteen de politie in.

Tijdens een pseudokoop, waarbij twee agenten van de Nationale Rijksrecherche Regio Twente zich voordeden als verzekeringsagenten, moest de Diemenaar in de val worden gelokt. De zaak was vrijwel beklonken, toen S. zich liet ontglippen dat hij ook nog wel een schilderij van Frans Hals – met een geschatte waarde van vijftien miljoen – kon terugbezorgen. Het doek was in 2011 uit het Leerdamse museum Hofje van Aerden gestolen. Toen de Twentse rechercheurs dat hoorden, verloren ze al hun belangstelling voor de Almelose schilderijen. Het onderzoek werd overgedragen aan een team van de politie Rotterdam-Rijnmond.

De Frans Hals werd dankzij Zuidema terugbezorgd, de Almelose schilderijen niet. Hans Günther S. werd veroordeeld tot dertig maanden cel, waarvan zes voorwaardelijk, maar ging in beroep. Hij loopt nog vrij rond. De Almelose opdrachtgever is zijn schilderijen nog steeds kwijt en Zuidema kan fluiten naar zijn honorarium.

Een contactpersoon uit de Amsterdamse onderwereld heeft hem bovendien laten weten dat de bende die verantwoordelijk was voor de diefstal van de Frans Hals, nu achter hem aan zit. “Ik loop de risico’s, krijg geen geld en de agenten laten zich trots met witte handschoenen fotograferen met de Frans Hals, terwijl ze mij toch op z’n minst enige erkenning zouden kunnen geven voor mijn werk. ”

De politie Rotterdam-Rijnmond doet ook het onderzoek naar de roof in de Kunsthal, zodat Zuidema – op z’n zachtst gezegd – gemengde gevoelens koestert over de samenwerking. Vandaar dat hij eerst de Amsterdamse rechercheurs raadpleegde met wie hij de Noortmanzaak oploste, toen de zakenman in Roemenië contact met hem opnam. Die verwezen hem door naar de chef van het Rotterdamse rechercheteam die, daar twijfeltZuidema niet aan, ongetwijfeld zijn Roemeense collega’s zal hebben ingelicht.

Het moet dus heel raar lopen als de Kunsthalschilderijen – de grootste kunstroof van de afgelopen jaren – op korte termijn weer terugkeren, vreest de detective. “Ik wil me graag sterk maken om de kunst terug te brengen. Maar over de inwilliging van de eisen van de dieven – uitlevering aan Nederland en strafvermindering – kan alleen justitie beslissen. En dan moeten de Roemeense autoriteiten daar ook nog eens mee akkoord gaan.”

De kans daarop acht Zuidema niet bijster groot. “Ik kan alleen bemiddelen, maar dan moeten de autoriteiten in Nederland en Roemenië wel mee willen spelen.”

 

 Museumbeveiliging, Ton Cremers » Blog Archive » Ben Zuidema Henk Schutten: ‘Geroofde werken uit de Kunsthal niet verbrand’.

September 3rd, 2013

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August 29th, 2013

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August 27th, 2013

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August 27th, 2013

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August 27th, 2013

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August 27th, 2013

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August 27th, 2013

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Robbers Steal Shishkin, Korovin Paintings From Russian Museum

RIA Novosti

Masked robbers have stolen several paintings by renowned 19th and 20th century Russian artists from a local museum in central Russia, the Interior Ministry said Monday.

Three masked men broke into a history and arts museum in the city of Vyazniki, about 300 kilometers (180 miles) east of Moscow Sunday evening, tied up a guard and stole several paintings by Ivan Shishkin, Konstantin Korovin and Stanislav Zhukovsky.

The ministry did not say which paintings were snatched or how many were stolen.

An investigation has been opened.

In early June, Shishkin’s “Twilight” sold at MacDougall’s auction house for £2.1 million (over $3.3 million), the highest recorded price for his work.

Read more: http://www.themoscowtimes.com/news/article/robbers-steal-shishkin-korovin-paintings-from-russian-museum/485085.html#ixzz2d9ZtuwiA
The Moscow Times 

via Robbers Steal Shishkin, Korovin Paintings From Russian Museum | News | The Moscow Times.

August 27th, 2013

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August 20th, 2013

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August 14th, 2013

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August 12th, 2013

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Beveiliging van de collecties is een van de kentaken van musea en wat moeten museumdirecteuren doen die een kerntaak verwaarlozen….juist: opstappen.

08/08/2013 – 10:54

In het AD van vandaag (8 augustus 2013) staat een interessant artikel over De Kunsthal (auteurs Ingrid de Groot en Koen Voskuil). In dat artikel komt Wim van Krimpen aan het woord die op de hem kenmerkende wijze tracht de hele wereld af te bluffen met onwaarheden en platvloersheden:

Voormalig Kunsthaldirecteur Wim van Krimpen zegt dat ondanks die kostenoverschrijdingen niet is beknibbeld op veiligheid. ,,Dat niet alle plannen zijn uitgevoerd, is logisch. Veiligheidsadviseurs willen liefst een bunker bouwen in plaats van een museum. Destijds is een integraal veiligheidsplan opgesteld en uitgevoerd. Het klopt dat er is bezuinigd, maar dat was vooral op de toegang voor mindervaliden. Later is dat alsnog rechtgezet.”

Laat die kletsende Van krimpen eens met een voorbeeld komen van een museum dat een bunker is. Het is klinkklare onzin dat ‘veiligheidsadviseurs’ liefst bunkers bouwen. Een generalisering die net zo absurd is, als “Museumdirecteuren hebben maling aan beveiliging”. Dat laatste is net zo min waar als dat achterhaalde bunkerverhaal van Van Krimpen.

Ik durf de stelling aan dat bezuinigen op beveiliging niet in de eerste plaats een kwestie van geld is, maar van mentaliteit en prioriteit. Beveiliging van de collecties is een van de kentaken van musea en wat moeten museumdirecteuren doen die een kerntaak verwaarlozen….juist: opstappen.

Ton Cremers

Museumbeveiliging, Ton Cremers » Blog Archive » Beveiliging van de collecties is een van de kentaken van musea en wat moeten museumdirecteuren doen die een kerntaak verwaarlozen….juist: opstappen..

August 8th, 2013

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August 1st, 2013

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July 22nd, 2013

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July 19th, 2013

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June 4th, 2013

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June 4th, 2013

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June 4th, 2013

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June 4th, 2013

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June 1st, 2013

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May 30th, 2013

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May 25th, 2013

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May 21st, 2013

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May 10th, 2013

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May 6th, 2013

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April 30th, 2013

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April 23rd, 2013

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April 23rd, 2013

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April 23rd, 2013

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April 18th, 2013

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Does your museum have a media strategy for thefts?

http://www.museumsassociation.org/museum-practice/museum-thefts/16042013-does-your-museum-have-a-media-strategy-in-case-of-theft

April 17, 2013
Having a media strategy in place in case of theft is key to managing your museum’s reputation, and can help recover stolen items, according to the expert panel on the Museum Practice security webchat last week.William Brown, national security adviser at Arts Council England, recommended having a pre-prepared media strategy and reporting line ready in case of a theft.

“Be careful what is said publically, and ensure staff know who the nominated press liaison person is,” he added.

Clive Stevens, managing director of Euronova Ltd, also recommended communicating a pre-planned media response to lenders and trustees, and linking the response to a recovery strategy.

Simon Winiarski, director of Russell Scanlan, advised that some insurers utilise the services of specialist PR companies to manage the media following a loss, so it is worth checking with your insurance company to see if this applies to your museum.

There was also discussion over the merits of revealing the value of an object that had been stolen, the difficulties of insuring museums and collections, how to train staff to deal with suspicious behaviour, whether the Scrap Metal Bill will be effective in reducing theft, and what security technology museums should have.

Does your museum have a media strategy for thefts? | Museums Association.

April 18th, 2013

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April 16th, 2013

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Sin pistas del robo al Museo Histórico – Diario EL PAIS – Montevideo – Uruguay

http://www.elpais.com.uy/120109/pnacio-617475/nacional/sin-pistas-del-robo-al-museo-historico/

January 10, 2012

PAYSANDÚ | SANDRA KANOVICH

El intendente de Paysandú, Bertil Bentos, que ordenó una investigación interna para deslindar responsabilidades en el hurto de la pistola que perteneciera a Juan Antonio Lavalleja. Bentos informó que se reunió con las autoridades policiales y advirtió del compromiso de no dar información ni ampliar comentarios que pudieran entorpecer la investigación policial.

En la mañana de ayer comenzó la investigación interna junto al secretario general, directores generales y personal vinculado al museo. “Se escucharon explicaciones, se analizó la situación y continuará en el día de mañana (por hoy lunes) recabando más antecedentes, acumulando información para poder analizar responsabilidades”, expresó con el mismo hermetismo con el que manejó la información policial.

Bentos aseguró también que en la jornada de hoy se pondría en contacto con las autoridades del Colegio del Rosario. La pistola robada pertenecía al Museo Salesiano y fue entregada en custodia a la intendencia, para ser expuesta entre las piezas históricas del museo.

El intendente también respondió públicamente a la bancada de ediles del Frente Amplio, que el sábado emitió un comunicado de prensa con la resolución de llamarlo a sala para exigirle explicaciones sobre el hecho. “Estamos dispuestos a concurrir a la brevedad”, dijo en la conferencia de prensa convocada en la mañana de ayer, con la que el jefe comunal interrumpió su licencia anual.

Como se informara, desconocidos ingresaron el viernes al Museo Histórico Municipal, ubicado frente a una comisaría, y hurtaron cuatro cajas de monedas antiguas y una pistola de chispa que perteneció a Lavalleja y que se presume fue la que utilizó durante la Cruzada Libertadora.

Sin pistas del robo al Museo Histórico – Diario EL PAIS – Montevideo – Uruguay.

April 13th, 2013

Posted In: Museum thefts

Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum Paintings ‘Must Be Returned’ to Fenway, Says US Attorney – Fenway-Kenmore, MA Patch

http://fenwaykenmore.patch.com/articles/isabella-stewart-gardner-museum-paintings-must-be-returned-to-fenway-says-fbi

March 19, 2013

By Sara Jacobi Email the author March 18, 2013

FBI officials announced on Monday they know who committed one of the biggest art heists in history, but they still need the public’s help to locate the 13 missing pieces of art. 

The announcement came on the 23rd anniversary of the heist at Fenway’s Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, where thieves posing as police officers lifted now-considered priceless pieces of art by Rembrandt, Vermeer and Govaert Flinck, among others. 

Since 23 years have gone by, the statute of limitations on the original crime has passed, meaning officials can only press charges related to the theft, such as possession of stolen property charges against those currently harboring the paintings.

But the threat of an arrest or charges is tempered by a $5 million reward for a tip leading to the successful recovery of the paintings, or potential immunity from criminal prosecution. 

Progress on tracking the works of art has ramped up over the last few years, officials said. 

“The FBI believes with a high degree of confidence in the years after the theft the art was transported to Connecticut and the Philadelphia region and some of the art was taken to Philadelphia where it was offered for sale by those responsible for the theft,”  said Richard DesLauriers, Special Agent in Charge of the Boston FBI office. “With that same confidence we have identified the thieves who are members of a criminal organization with a base in the mid-Atlantic states and New England.” 

Officials believe the art was smuggled into Connecticut and eventually made its way into Philadelphia. At that point, the trail for the missing masterpieces goes cold. The FBI believes an organized-crime organization based in the mid-Atlantic states coordinated the crime.

To help keep the public in the process, the bureau launched a new Gardner heist website. The site features sketches of the thieves, images of the lost art, background on the crime and information for anyone who want to contact the FBI with new information about the crime.

“I have a great desire to get those paintings back, so that Mrs. Gardner’s wishes can be fulfilled,” said U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz.

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April 13th, 2013

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April 11th, 2013

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Theft at Villa Giulia, Rome: Another European Museum Hit by Thieves

http://art-crime.blogspot.nl/2013/04/theft-at-villa-giulia-rome-another.html?m=1

April 5, 2013

Catherine Schofield Sezgin

by Lynda Albertson, CEO, Association of Research into Crimes against Art
ROME – In the last thirteen months several museums in Europe have been hit with dramatic thefts.
In February 2012, two men stormed the Archeological Museum of Olympia in the early morning and tied up a female guard. Wielding hammers, the robbers proceeded to smash five reinforced glass display cases, stuffing 68 pottery and bronze artifacts into their bags before making a hasty escape. 
In a less violent robbery, thieves walked into the Kunsthal in Rotterdam at 3 am on October 16, 2012 and stole seven paintings from the Triton Foundation, a private foundation of the family of the late Willem Cordia. Inside the museum for less than two minutes, the thieves’ cherry-picked valuable art works by Picasso, Monet, Gauguin, Matisse and Lucian Freud, packing them into rucksacks before exiting the same way they came in. 
In January goal-oriented burglars struck an art museum in Bergen, Norway for the second time in less than three years. Using high-beam headlights and crowbars, the two thieves smashed display cases and stole 23 rare Chinese artifacts in just over ninety seconds.
This past weekend, over the Easter holidays, Rome’s Villa Giulia joined the list. 
Arriving around midnight, the thieves announced their presence by dramatically launching a smoke grenade. This effectively occupied the attention of the night watchmen and bought the thieves precious seconds needed to climb a garden wall and break into the museum.  It also gave them with a thick cover to obscure their movements on the museum’s close-circuit cameras. 
While the guards investigated the smoke and notified the police of the irregularity the criminals made their way through the museum.  Bypassing many of Villa Giulia’s costlier masterpieces, the robbers climbed the stairs to the first floor rooms that house the objects that make up the vast 6000- piece Castellani collection.
Stopping in Room 20, the Sala degli Ori, the thieves smashed two of the four double collection display cabinets, setting off the museum’s alarm and grabbing an as yet, unnamed number of jewelry pieces before making their escape unseen.  If their selection was random or purposeful we do not know.  What is being reported is that the shattered display cases housed 19th century Castellani jewelry reproductions based on Etruscan design, while the collection cases facing and alongside those hit contain original Etruscan pieces. 
Anyone familiar with ancient jewelry making techniques knows that the loss of these antique reproductions is likely to be quite significant. In December of 2006 Sotheby’s sold a Castellani Egyptian-revival gold, scarab and micromosaic necklace with matching brooch to a private collector for $475,200. Nine other Castellani pieces sold in that same sale for six figures each. 

To create his Etruscan replicas, Alessandro Castellani studied original Etruscan artifacts in great detail to try to unravel their method of fabrication. Experimenting with various granulation techniques, he hand-applying minute gold grain onto high-karat gold surfaces producing labor intensive and intricate jewelry pieces that were as exquisite as their ancient counterparts.
The finest examples of jewelry in this style were produced between the eighth and second centuries, B.C.E. Even with modern tools and knowledge, few goldsmiths today have sufficient skill to compete with either the Castellani jewelers or the original Etruscan masters of the craft.  The jewelry pieces in the Villa Giulia collection were created in a time when human hands were more abundant that the precious metals needed to produce an item and many of the collection’s signature pieces required hundreds of hours of painstaking workmanship.
As back history, Fortunato Castellani, opened his family’s jewelry business on Via del Corso in Rome in 1814 building it into a goldsmith dynasty. Alongside its founder, three generations of the Castellani family members and jewelry artisans based their reputations on creating what they called “Italian archaeological jewelry,” inspired by the precious Etruscan, Roman, Greek, and Byzantine antiquities being excavated at the time. 
Characterized by its thoughtfully worked gold, many Castellani revival pieces utilize labor-intensive micro mosaic insets, or were ornately paved with cameos or semi-precious stones.  The costliest pieces were purchased by well-heeled clientele, some of whom included Napoleon III; Prince Albert; Queen Victoria’s daughter, Empress Frederick of Prussia; Queen Maria Pia of Savoy; and Robert and Elizabeth Browning, who even wrote a poem about one of their rings.
For now, the authorities at the Villa Giulia and the Carabinieri TPC are remaining mum publically as to which 19th century pieces were taken, their value and what, if anything, the museum’s closed circuit surveillance tapes have revealed in terms of clues.
What we do know is that this not the first time that a burglar has made use of a cinema-worthy smokescreen to foil security cameras or to carry out a brazen museum theft on a holiday. 
In 1999 Cezanne’s View of Auvers-sur-Oise was stolen from the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford, England during New Year celebrations.  The bandit broke through a skylight, rappelled down a rope ladder into a gallery and blinded security cameras with a smoke bomb before making off with the £3m painting.
A smoke bomb was also detonated inside the Ukraine’s Lvov Picture Gallery in 1992 during a noon-day heist.   In this violent robbery, two bandits stole three 19th century paintings and shot two museum employees – one a manager and the other a section manager – who tried to prevent their escape.
What will become of the pieces stolen from the Villa Giulia collection is subject to speculation, as is the rationale behind most modern museum thefts.  Some here in Rome think that the recent UK and European robberies highlight that austerity measures and the recession have created a financial climate that on surface value makes museum collections appealing targets.

What happens after, when the high profile goods cannot be sold, remains to be seen.

ARCAblog: Theft at Villa Giulia, Rome: Another European Museum Hit by Thieves.

April 5th, 2013

Posted In: ARCA, Museum thefts

Roban un museo de Rio de Janeiro en pleno día

http://vidayestilo.terra.com.pe/turismo/roban-un-museo-de-rio-de-janeiro-en-pleno-dia,542cb7fbb44dd310VgnCLD2000000ec6eb0aRCRD.html

April 5, 2013

Un bolígrafo de oro en forma de pluma de pájaro incrustada con diamantes, que perteneció al expresidente brasileño Afonso Pena (1902-1906), fue robado en pleno día en un museo de Rio de Janeiro, informó el jueves la institución.

La obra de arte pertenecía a la colección permanente del museo y desapareció a las 15h00 del miércoles de una de las 23 salas del Museo de la República, que tiene 12 guardias de seguridad y ninguna cámara de vigilancia, declaró Magaly Cabral Santos, su directora.

El principal sospechoso es un hombre que habría permanecido solo durante unos minutos en la sala de este edificio neoclásico, en el céntrico barrio de Catete. La vitrina donde se encontraba el bolígrafo apareció rota.

“Desde 2010, pido en vano un refuerzo de guardias, uno en cada sala”, deploró Cabral Santos -madre del gobernador de Rio Sergio Cabral- citada por el diario O Globo.

Para José Nascimento Junior, expresidente del Instituto Brasileño de Museos, el problema de la falta de seguridad en los museos es generalizado.

“Vamos a recibir grandes eventos -como el Mundial de fútbol en 2014 y los Juegos Olímpicos en 2016- y la tendencia es que los robos aumenten”, dijo a O Globo.

En 2005, más de 900 fotos raras de los siglos XIX y XX, grabados y dibujos fueron robados de la Biblioteca Nacional de Rio.

Durante el carnaval de 2006, cuatro hombres robaron del Museo Chacara do Céu de Rio pinturas de Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dalí, Henri Matisse y Claude Monet. Este robo fue considerado como el octavo más importante de obras de arte del mundo por el FBI, recordó el diario. Ninguno de los cuadros fue hallado.

El Museo de la República de Rio ofrece al visitante un panorama de la historia republicana de Brasil con fotos, objetos, muebles y obras de arte de los siglos XIX y XX.

Roban un museo de Rio de Janeiro en pleno día – Terra Perú.

April 5th, 2013

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April 3rd, 2013

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Police investigate Etruscan Museum robbery

http://www.wantedinrome.com/news/2002193/police-investigate-etruscan-museum-robbery.html


A police investigation is underway following the theft of some 19th-century jewellery from Rome’s Villa Giulia Etruscan museum over the Easter weekend. 

The thieves gained entry after forcing open one of the entrance doors. They smashed two cabinets on the upper floor containing items from the important Castellani collection comprising more than 6,000 whole and fragmented artefacts including ancient and modern gold, and amber pendants dating from the early 7th century BC. 

read more:

via Police investigate Etruscan Museum robbery | News in Rome | Rome City Guide | Wanted in Rome.

April 3rd, 2013

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Italian government under fire after Rome museum theft

http://www.gazzettadelsud.it/news/english/40993/Italian-government-under-fire-after-Rome-museum-theft.html

April 3, 2013

Rome

02/04/2013

‘Spending cuts a threat to safety, heritage’

Rome, April 2 – A robbery over the Easter weekend at Rome’s Villa Giulia Etruscan museum led to calls Tuesday for improved measures to secure Italy’s culture ministry. “It took a multimillion (euro) theft to point attention to one of the longstanding problems that weigh on the management, protection and safety” of Italy’s cultural sites, said Giuseppe Urbino, the national secretary of the Confsal Unsa Beni Culturali union. Late Saturday, robbers stole dozens of rare items, including ancient jewelry. “Thefts have become routine, but never has any minister – at least in the last 20 years – tried to carry out a healthy safety policy”. The union leader pointed the finger at spending cuts, following outgoing Premier Mario Monti’s “spending review”, which have left few resources for training, security upgrades and personnel, with many museum guards performing double shifts. “The management class at the culture ministry has demonstrated incompetence, and it is also for this reason that something must change in order to help culture in our ‘bel paese’ rise again,” Urbino said.

Italian government under fire after Rome museum theft – GazzettaDelSud.

April 3rd, 2013

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April 1st, 2013

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Chainsaw thief hacks off Louis XIV elephant’s tusk

http://www.france24.com/en/20130331-france-museum-theft-chainsaw-thief-louis-elephant-tusk

April 1, 2013

An intruder in the Paris Natural History Museum who sawed off a tusk of a skeleton of an African elephant given to French King Louis XIV was apprehended early on Saturday, according to French authorities.

The suspect, about 20 years old, had the tusk in his possession when the police arrested him outside the museum as he tried to flee the premises.

The vandalism occurred early Saturday in the palaeontology section of the historic Paris Natural History Museum after the man managed to enter the building through a window.

“The elephant that was damaged was given to Louis XIV as a present by the king of Portugal in 1668,” Jacques Cuisin, head of restoration at the museum, told reporters over the weekend. “He was cutting the tusk with a chainsaw until the tusk actually fell. The noise from the security alarm was so unbearable that he left,” explained Cuisin.

The animal’s tusks are not the original ones, but were added to the skeleton in the 19th century.

According to Cuisin, the three-kilogram tusk did not have great monetary value, but it did have major historic and scientific value.

Despite the shocking act of vandalism, museum officials assured reporters that the tusk could be easily repaired.

Spate of attacks on museum rhinos and elephants

Hours after the incident, the museum opened to visitors at regular hours – although the vandalised elephant skeleton was shrouded in a white covering.

more:

Chainsaw thief hacks off Louis XIV elephant’s tusk – FRANCE – FRANCE 24.

April 1st, 2013

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March 31st, 2013

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Criminal gangs target ivory in museums

http://www.itv.com/news/update/2013-03-30/criminal-gangs-target-ivory-in-museums/

March 31, 2013
 
The damaged elephant skeleton at the Paris Natural History museums Credit: EBU

The attack on an elephant skeleton at the Paris Natural History Musuem is the latest in a series of thefts from people looking to cash in on the lucrative trade in ivory and rhino horn.

Rhino horn is worth £65,000 a kilo, which makes it more valuable than cocaine, heroin and gold.

read more via Criminal gangs target ivory in museums – ITV News.

March 31st, 2013

Posted In: Museum thefts

Jongeman zaagt slagtand olifant met kettingzaag af in museum

jongeman zaagt slagtand olifant met kettingzaag af in museum

30/03 IN DE RAND In Parijs is in de nacht van vrijdag op zaterdag een jongeman van 20 opgepakt nadat hij in een natuurhistorisch museum was binnengebroken om daar met een kettingzaag een slagtand van een olifant af te zagen. Volgens de politie heeft het lawaai van de kettingzaag hem verraden.

De jongeman kon uit het museum wegvluchten met de slagtand, maar werd opgepakt in een nabijgelegen straat. De kettingzaag werd gevonden in een gang van het museum.

via Jongeman zaagt slagtand olifant met kettingzaag af in museum – Hbvl.be.

March 31st, 2013

Posted In: Museum thefts

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March 28th, 2013

Posted In: Museum thefts

Was anyone watching the Gardner Museum watchman?

http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/2013/03/09/guard-who-opened-the-door-robbers-notorious-gardner-museum-heist-under-suspicion-years-later/J9cyv9A0rRkJ1t0OYpwdvL/story.html

March 28, 2013

Night watchman Richard Abath may have made the most costly mistake in art history shortly after midnight on March 18, 1990. Police found him handcuffed and duct-taped in the basement of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum seven hours after he unwisely opened the thick oak door to two thieves who then stole 13 works of art valued at more than $500 million.

For years, investigators discounted the hapless Abath’s role in the unsolved crime, figuring his excessive drinking and pot smoking contributed to his disastrous decision to let in the robbers, who were dressed as police officers. Even if the duo had been real cops, watchmen weren’t supposed to admit anyone who showed up uninvited at 1:24 a.m.

But, after 23 years of pursuing dead ends, including a disappointing search of an alleged mobster’s home last year, investigators are focusing on intriguing evidence that suggests the former night watchman might have been in on the crime all along — or at least knows more about it than he has admitted.

Why, they ask, were Abath’s footsteps the only ones picked up on motion detectors in a first floor gallery where one of the stolen paintings, by French impressionist Edouard Manet, was taken? And why did he open the side entrance to the museum minutes before the robbers rang the buzzer to get in? Was he signaling to them that he was prepared for the robbery to begin?

No one publicly calls Abath a suspect, but federal prosecutors grilled him on these issues last fall. And one former prosecutor in the case has written a recently published novel about the Gardner heist in which the night watchman let the thieves into the museum to pay off a large cocaine debt.

“The more I learn about Rick, the more disappointed I get in him,” said Lyle W. Grindle, the former director of security at the Gardner who hired Abath in 1988.

Now, for the first time, Abath is discussing publicly what happened and admitting that some of his actions are hard to explain, but insisting he had nothing to do with what is regarded as the biggest art heist ever.

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Stephen Kurkjian can be reached at stephenkurkjian@gmail.com.

Guard who opened the door to robbers in notorious Gardner Museum heist under suspicion 23 years later – News – Boston.com.

March 28th, 2013

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March 28th, 2013

Posted In: Museum thefts

Halifax art dealer describes how Tillman allegedly stole artifacts

http://globalnews.ca/news/433944/halifax-art-dealer-describes-how-tillman-allegedly-stole-artifacts/

March 28, 2013

Christine Tam

New details have been uncovered about a Halifax man suspected of stealing a million dollars worth of artifacts.

Until now, little has been known about John Tillman’s alleged activities as a self-proclaimed art dealer.

RCMP allege Tillman spent decades stealing a trove of artifacts from museums and galleries throughout Atlantic Canada.

Halifax art gallery owner Ian Muncaster says Tillman bought a ship’s portrait 14 years ago from him.

Muncaster says Tillman paid for half of the portrait on his credit card, with the remaining $3,500 to be charged to his account later.

But when Muncaster charged the card it was declined.

Story continues below →

 

 

Halifax art dealer describes how Tillman allegedly stole artifacts | Globalnews.ca.

March 28th, 2013

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March 26th, 2013

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MATT CONNOLLY: Isabella Stewart Gardner back in the headlines

http://www.patriotledger.com/news/cops_and_courts/x1522344722/MATT-CONNOLLY-Isabella-Stewart-Gardner-back-in-the-headlines

March 26, 2013
“Landscape with an Obelisk,” 1638, one of 13 works of art stolen from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in 1990.

I suppose in a contest it’d be a close call as to who is more infamous, Whitey Bulger or those who stole the highly valuable art works from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum.

I’m sure everyone has heard and is relieved to know the FBI has identified the thieves who committed the Gardner Museum Robbery. What is a little disconcerting is it says it would be imprudent to tell us who they are. I don’t get it. The thieves know who they are, if they are still alive. Wouldn’t it make sense to publicly identify them and wait to see if there’s some feed back in information from the public about them?

It is strange coincidence that around the same time the Boston FBI office was telling us it knew who broke into the Gardner Museum a US Senator called  that office “out of control.”  There’s no doubt this office has a credibility problem. Any regular reader of this blog knows this.

There’s also little doubt that what the FBI is doing would not have worked for any of us in school. Although, I have to admit I never tried it. If only I’d have had the guts to say to the teacher, “Ma’am I know the answer but it’d be imprudent for me to tell you. So just give me an A.”

The FBI has one true believer. It is Kevin Cullen in the Boston Globe, who relies on the FBI sources for scoops. Cullen writes, “the feds think the art heist was pulled off by a combination of wiseguys from Boston and Philadelphia. Makes sense to me.”  Cullen supports his belief by pointing out that gangsters in Boston knew gangsters in Philadelphia.

I happen to think the FBI is blowing a lot of smoke. If it knew who committed the robbery there is no reason not to tell. I’m cynical not so much because the FBI, like the gangsters, treats truth like an overcoat to be used only when necessary. It’s because as Joe Friday would say, “the facts don’t add up.”

more:

MATT CONNOLLY: Isabella Stewart Gardner back in the headlines – Quincy, MA – The Patriot Ledger.

March 26th, 2013

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March 26th, 2013

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Observers, investigators say now is time to find Gardner art before it is lost – Metro – The Boston Globe

http://bostonglobe.com/metro/2013/03/24/observers-investigators-say-now-time-find-gardner-art-before-lost/Z4HQc74zz6ek7QWOcZvNsO/story.html

March 26, 2013

By Milton J. Valencia , Shelley Murphy and Stephen Kurkjian  |  Globe Staff | Globe Correspondent     March 25, 2013

Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum/AP/File

“The Storm on the Sea of Galilee,” by Rembrandt, was one of the artworks stolen.

In what is perhaps Boston’s last enduring mystery, federal investigators last week stirred public excitement by announcing that they know who was behind the notorious Gardner Museum heist 23 years ago, and had traced the stolen art from Boston to Connecticut and then to Philadelphia.

But one central question remains: Where is the art now?

Those dedicated to the recovery of the stolen art — observers and retired investigators alike — worry that if the priceless artworks aren’t found now they could be lost forever.

“I think we all have to be realistic — knowing that so many people that we believed had some knowledge of what happened have since died, without saying anything,” said James J. McGovern, who worked on the case as a special US attorney in 2005 and 2006 and last year authored “Artful Deception,” a novel about the investigation. “My hope is the same as everyone else’s who has worked on this case ­— please, someone who knows something of [the artworks’] whereabouts, step forward.”

Continue reading below

Observers, investigators say now is time to find Gardner art before it is lost – Metro – The Boston Globe.

March 26th, 2013

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March 25th, 2013

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Rhino heads removed from Elgin Museum to Edinburgh amid theft fears | News | Edinburgh | STV

http://local.stv.tv/edinburgh/218900-rhino-heads-removed-from-elgin-museum-to-edinburgh-amid-theft-fears/

March 25, 2013
Rhino head: The items have been moved to Edinburgh.SWNS

A museum has been forced to surrender a pair of rhino heads worth £400,000 amid fears they would be targeted by ruthless armed gangs.

The prized exhibits at Elgin Museum in Moray have been shipped down to the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh after a spree of museum robberies around Europe.

The illegal trade of powdered rhino horn has a black market price double that of gold and the two on display in Elgin – one white and the other black – could have fetched for £200,000 each, if sold.

With limited security devices, Elgin Museum had no option but to move the rhino heads to Edinburgh after more than 20 museums and auction houses were targeted by thugs with CS spray, to blind security guards.

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Rhino heads removed from Elgin Museum to Edinburgh amid theft fears | News | Edinburgh | STV.

March 25th, 2013

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March 25th, 2013

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