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Auckland. Police used 'unorthodox' method to recover buried art – 11 Nov 2007

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Police used ‘unorthodox’ method to recover buried art
5:00AM Sunday November 11, 2007
By Cliff Taylor
Auckland art gallery principal conservator Sarah Hillary repairing the Goldie painting. Photo / Jason Dorday

Auckland art gallery principal conservator Sarah Hillary repairing the Goldie painting. Photo / Jason Dorday

Auckland detectives say they were forced to use “unorthodox” methods to recover priceless artefacts stolen from the University of Auckland and buried underground for months.

The Herald on Sunday has the first pictures of the returned Goldie painting, now lovingly being restored along with a 1935 Bible and seven Colin McCahon poems.

We revealed last month that police agreed to drop charges against an accused criminal who brokered the return of the artefacts, stolen from the university library during last year’s Christmas holidays.

Police will not divulge details of the recovery operation, which began in May with an anonymous email sent to Detective Sergeant Rick Veacock.

“We don’t want to start a precedent,” Veacock said. “We don’t want to give criminals ideas. An unorthodox approach was taken to ensure we got the treasures back. Going through usual investigation methods would have risked us getting only half of them, or none of them, back.”

Veacock said he believed the stolen items, valued at $207,000 but considered irreplaceable, had been buried in Rodney District, north of Auckland. He said they had probably been stolen to be “flicked off” but had proved too difficult to sell.

They were recovered a few weeks ago.

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/category/story.cfm?c_id=18&objectid=10475236

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