A Gun, ‘Don’t Look at My Face,’ and Then They Hit the Safehttp://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/10/04/a-gun-dont-look-at-my-face-and-then-they-hit-the-safe/
Before he could react, George Bardwil had a gun pointed in his face.
It was Monday afternoon when Mr. Bardwil, a linen manufacturer, answered a call at his garden apartment on East 51st Street in Manhattan and was confronted by two robbers — one armed with a black semiautomatic handgun.
The gunman said, “ ‘Don’t look at my face,’ ” said Mr. Bardwil, 59, who is semiretired from his decades-old family-run business, Bardwil Industries, which makes tables linens, place mats, napkins and bath towels.
The robbers pushed their way into the first-floor residence in the five-story brownstone between Second and First Avenues in Turtle Bay, next door to the Laotian mission to the United Nations. They used twine and phone cords to bind the hands of Mr. Bardwil and two friends who were visiting and stole their wallets, cellphones and watches, according to Mr. Bardwil and the police.
Then, as the armed man stood guard over the victims, in the living room, the second robber paused, put black gloves on his hands and made his way to a safe in the bedroom. His movements were tracked by one of 15 security cameras Mr. Bardwil said he had installed in his house several months ago.
A housekeeper came into the apartment while the home invasion was in progress, said Mr. Bardwil. The armed assailant rushed her, threw his hand over her mouth and pushed her to the floor of the living room along with the other victims, he said.
The whole ordeal took less than five minutes, Mr. Bardwil said on Tuesday.
When the criminals left, Mr. Bardwil and the others wriggled out of their binds and called the police. Mr. Bardwil looked in the safe. He said the men had taken several watches worth $50,000 to $100,000 each, including a diamond-encrusted Louis Vuitton watch; paper money from the 1920s worth about $20,000; and antique jewelry, including an Art Deco diamond bracelet given to him by his grandmother.
Mr. Bardwil said there were signs the robbers knew what they were doing: they were able to slip into the building’s vestibule undetected; they seemed to know precisely where the safe was; and they knew where to find the controls for the surveillance cameras, which one of them disabled. People with information about the robbers are asked to contact the Police Department’s Crime Stoppers unit.
Mr. Bardwil said he was not sure if he had left the safe open or if the robber cracked it or knew the combination.
He could not immediately place a monetary value of the items taken, but he was in the process of putting together a list for detectives on Tuesday.
In retrospect, Mr. Bardwil said, things could have been worse.
“Nobody was hurt,” he said. “It’s just a bunch of junk as far as I’m concerned.”
Police: Man turned self in over artwork theft
An Oyster Bay man apparently listened to his conscience -- and called 911 Tuesday to say he wanted to turn himself in for stealing about $100,000 worth of art from his landlord, police said.Nassau County police said James Watt, 51, made the call from Theodore Roosevelt Park and told them he had sold the items he said he'd stolen from the 58-year-old woman.
More to follow.....................
Whatever prompted him to do it, Nassau Police say 51-year-old James Watt of Oyster Bay called 911 to turn himself in.
“He does like his landlord. He felt very bad. He had been doing apparently well, then relapsed,” police Lt. William Carrey told WCBS 880 reporter Sophia Hall.
Police say Watt told them he stole a number of pieces of art from his landlord, including statues and paintings. The artworks were worth approximately $100,000.
Police say Watt sold the stolen art to Coin Galleries of Oyster Bay. There’s no word on how much he sold them for.
Watt faces grand larceny charges. He’s being arraigned today.
Art Hostage Comments:
As Art Related crime is reported more in the media it can become a self fulfilling prophecy and feed off itself.
When times are hard and workers that are lucky enough to have a job in the domestic industry cannot make ends meet, then the criminal underworld step in to get intelligence about the wealthy employers of such hired help.
Criminals are now realising that retail premises are protected with security and CCTV etc and the odds of getting caught is becoming greater, even if the initial theft is successful. So now thieves are turning their attention to the private residences of people who may have valuable art and antiques in their home.
First, less security in private homes, less cataloging of art an antiques in private homes, and also private art and antiques theft is a property crime which authorities do not devote diminishing resources to.