New Zealand Victoria Crosses heist: Prime Minister fantasizes about reclusive collector

“Prime Minister has suggested a reclusive collector may have organised the heist” Statements like these return again and again after major art heists take place. However, this ‘reclusive collector’ has never been found. It is quite well possible that thieves know which fence will be eager to buy stolen objects, and that fences even place orders, but a ‘reclusive collector’?A collector who can afford to have cultural objects stolen to order will find himself in a very difficult position when criminals start blackmailing him.What will he do when these objects are stolen from him? Report this theft to the police? The ‘reclusive collector’ even ‘organising the heist’ will never be able to show off with his collection.I wonder on which information the New Zealand Prime Minister based his statement. Or did he just see one crime movie too many? 

 Ton Cremers   Medal thieves bashed through fire escape during heist

Thu, 06 Dec 2007 06:40p.m.      

3 News have learned details about the way the VC medal thieves first tried and then failed to get inside the army museum at Waioura. The thieves were said to have tried to drill their way into the museum. But when that failed, they resorted to brute force and bashed their way in. Alison Jones and Ngaire Fryer have worked at the museum for a number of years and feel almost personally robbed and assaulted. The thieves bashed their way through a fire escape, after failing to drill through the lock of a door. The thieves reportedly performed a reconnaissance of the building at an earlier time, measuring the position of the lock from the inside. The museum burglars are likely to have been caught on the cameras at the museum entrance when they initially arrived to plan their raid.  

Medal raid took just four minutes

Mon, 03 Dec 2007 12:11p.m. 

Police dusting for prints at the Waiouru Army Museum     

Police have brought in extra officers today as their hunt for the precious war medals steps up. Border control and Interpol are on high alert following the smash and grab which took just four minutes. Among the hundreds of stolen medals are nine Victoria crosses, two George crosses and an Albert medal. The most significant medal taken in the heist belonged to Charles Upham, New Zealand’s most decorated soldier. All the medals taken belonged to soldiers working for the New Zealand defence force and date back as far as the 1899 Boer War. There is speculation today that the medals were stolen to order. The Prime Minister has suggested a reclusive collector may have organised the heist. It is thought the medals could make millions of dollars on the black market. The army says the stolen medals would be difficult to sell as they are highly identifiable and are engraved with the recipients’ names.

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