Art Theft Central: Motivations Behind Art Theft

While working as a security guard at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, I found that many visitors would frequently stare at the empty frames in the infamous Dutch Room and ask, “Why steal art?” In a paper I presented last November at the American Society of Criminology’s Annual Conference, I discussed the motivations behind art theft: aesthetic motivations, profit motivations and psychological motivations. After examining a myriad of art theft cases it has become quite apparent  to me that psychological motivations are likely a component of many, if not all, aesthetic and profit motivated thefts…

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