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Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Art Theft/ Cash machine Bank raid gang put behind bars
By Matt Wilkinson


A gang has been jailed for a total of more than 30 years after a foiled bank robbery in a small Oxfordshire town.

The six men, normally involved in high value art thefts, crashed a stolen JCB into the Burford branch of Lloyds TSB in Sheep Street, in April last year, attempting to steal the cash machine, but fled empty-handed after the digger broke.

"Should have gone to Spec-savers" "Should have stuck to art theft"

Police arrested the six men - one from Eynsham and the rest from Kent - only 15 minutes after the botched raid.

This means that Police were watching Alan Johnson, waiting for him to go and collect his soldiers.

Alan "Jimmy" Johnson, 53, of Eynsham, was the last of the gang to be sentenced yesterday when he was jailed for four-and-a-half years.

continued... Alan Jimmy Johnson could not recover the really high value stolen artworks his gang sold on to criminal art dealers. These Mr Big's said they want to be paid a profit before they release high value stolen artworks.

Investigating officer DS Howard Berry, of Witney CID, said: "These people are organised criminals prepared to travel long distances to commit serious crime in isolated rural locations, if not high value art thefts from Stately homes, then they will turn to stealuing cash ATM's from the walls of banks.

"On that night, the residents of Burford woke up to a frightening experience seeing a gang of men in balaclavas attacking a bank with a stolen JCB in a well-planned attempt to extract a cash machine.

"This was a serious offence and the sentences from court reflect our view."

Johnson, whose address was given as a traveller camp on the A4095 at Eynsham, and four other members of the gang all changed their pleas and admitted conspiracy to steal as a trial was about to begin last Monday.

Sentencing Johnson yesterday, Judge Anthony Hall said the gang waited until the last minute before they realised the game was up.

He said: "They were going down like nine-pins when other defendants were pleading guilty at the door of the court.

"There was no evidence to distinguish between their roles.

"If you (Johnson) had entered a plea of guilty earlier and not at the door of the court I would have given you a greater credit."

Johnson called out to the judge from behind the glass screen in the dock as he was being sent down.

Before he was led away, he said: "If I'd been given the opportunity to plea I would have done that."

Alan Jimmy Johnson was led to believe that if he could facilitate the return of stolen high value artworks he would be in line for a reduced sentence, he failed to secure any significant pieces, so he gets Four and a Half years.

Nicolas Gerasimidis, defending, told the court Johnson was not a major player in organising the raid. Yeah right!!! One minute Alan Jimmy Johnson is the self styled Art crime godfather, next he is just and innocent man collecting friends. If Mr Johnson is to create a lying/bollocks story, at least make it plausable.

He was caught in a layby near Eynsham, meeting co-defendants after driving four of the robbers away from the raid in his Jeep Cherokee.

Mr Gerasimidis said: "His role was effectively offering help to persons that he knew. He wasn't involved in stealing any of the vehicles used."

The rest of the gang all came from Tunbridge Wells in Kent and were jailed on Friday.

George Smith, 38, and Matthew Cook, 30, were jailed for four-and-a-half years each after admitting conspiracy to steal, on the morning of their trial.

Dominic Edwards, 28, received four years after admitting his involvement a week before the trial was to begin.

Steven Thornton, 32, who also entered a guilty plea at the start of the trial, was jailed for seven years and eight months on two counts of conspiracy to steal, and driving offences.

Stephen Boyd was sentenced to five years after he was found guilty of conspiracy to steal on Thursday following a four-day trial at Oxford Crown Court.

8:58am Tuesday 24th October 2006

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Issued: Friday, 20 October 2006, 17:24:22

Operation Haul - update

Five men were sentenced at Oxford Crown Court yesterday (19/10) in connection with Operation Haul.

These men are part of the Art Crime gangs targeting Stately/Country homes for high value museum quality artworks. Targetting cash machines is just another line of criminal activity for these crime gangs.

The men were arrested near Burford, Oxfordshire, in April for the attempted theft of an ATM machine using two stolen vehicles.

George Smith, aged 38, from the Tunbridge Wells area of Kent was sentenced to four-and-a-half years imprisonment.

Stephen Boyd, aged 49, from Reading was sentenced to five years imprisonment.

Steven Thornton, aged 32, from the Tunbridge Wells area of Kent, was sentenced to seven years and eight months imprisonment.

Mathew Cook, aged 30, from the Tunbridge Wells area of Kent, was sentenced to four-and-a-half years imprisonment.

Dominic Edwards, aged 28, from the Tunbridge Wells area of Kent, was sentenced to four years imprisonment.

A sixth man is due to be sentenced on Monday (23/10).

How To Prevent High Value Art Theft, Minimal Cost!!!!

It is impossible to stop these career criminals from comitting crime, however, if existing sentencing guidelines in British law are enforced for high value art theft, then these criminals will stop targeting Stately/Country homes and comitt crime in other areas.

If the message is clear, anyone convicted of high value art theft will be given a mandatory 10 years jail sentence, then High value art theft will look less attractive.

A scheme in America that makes it a federal offence to steal high value artworks from public buildings and museums, leaving criminals facing 25 to life if they are caught. This has stemed the theft of priceless artworks from public buildings and museums although security at many Muesums and public buildings leaves something to be desired.

If applied in Britain, the criminals would think twice before embarking on stealing high value artworks from public buildings and museums, the museums would not have to update their security, although this is recommended however expensive, and the public will enjoy access to unique priceless artworks on display, furthering everyone's cultural learning.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Issued: Wednesday, 18 October 2006, 13:38:49
"Operation Haul curbs art crime gangs"

"All evidence to the contrary"


Police appeal after Art and Antiques burglary - Maidenhead

Less than one week since Mark Warwick and police were revelling in their supposed glory of smashing the art crime gangs, we now see another theft of antique clocks and watches.

This will be followed by many others in the coming months.
The "Hitting corks in a barrel" approach continues!!!!!!!!!

Art Hostage is proved right yet again!!!!


Police are appealing for information after a group of burglars broke into the home of an elderly man in Maidenhead on Monday (16/10).

The offenders gained entry to the property in Wootton Way, at about 10pm, by forcing the front door.

The 79-year-old victim was in bed at the time and, after forcing their way in, the offenders removed a telephone from its socket to prevent him from calling the police or making contact with anyone else.

The group, of about six men, then searched his home, stealing a number of antique clocks and watches before leaving through the front door.

DS Simon Powell, officer in the case, said: “We urge anyone who heard or saw anything they think was suspicious in that area on Monday to call the police.

“We would also like to hear from anyone who has been offered any antique clocks or watches for sale.”

Police are investigating the possibility that the same group is also responsible for a second incident, which also occurred in the Punt Hill area of Maidenhead.

In this later incident, which occurred sometime between 11.55pm on Monday (16/7) and 5.15am on Tuesday (17/10), the offenders forced a front door to get in before searching the property.

Police are also investigating reports of a group of youths knocking on doors in the area on the same night.

Insp John McDonald, of the neighbourhood team at Maidenhead, said: “These offences were particularly despicable, being against some of the most vulnerable in our community.

“If anyone has any information about either offence, or the group of youths knocking on doors that night, they should phone police. All calls will be treated as confidential.” "And those who provide information to police will be hung out to dry when they are of no more use to law enforcement"


Antiques Trade Gazette

14 arrests, but still no sign of huge haul

Stolen art and antiques valued at tens of millions remain at large despite the arrests of 14 people in connection with a string of burglaries at English stately homes. Police have asked the antiques trade to remain vigilant.

The ongoing investigation is part of Operation Haul, an initiative involving police from five forces launched in 2005 to look at the activities of an extremely violent and intimidating crime network operating throughout the south of England. Police from Thames Valley, West Mercia, Warwickshire, Wiltshire and Gloucestershire helped in the arrests. “We had a common problem, we had a common issue we needed to deal with. We came together and we actually worked together to solve this,” said Detective Superintendent Mark Warwick of Thames Valley Police.

However, while detectives claimed to have smashed an arts and antiques ring, so far little of the stolen goods – with a collective value of more than £100m – have been recovered. Police are hoping that inquiries over the next few days could lead to more being seized but, in the belief that most of the stolen property has been sold on, detectives urged antiques dealers to be alert. For example, none of the gold boxes from Waddesdon Manor have surfaced after four years.

The one breakthrough remains the stash of 140 objects discovered in underground storage on wasteland close to Stratford-upon-Avon at the end of March. As widely reported, the recovered objects, packed in straw inside dustbins, represented close to 40 per cent of the total volume taken in Britian’s largest domestic robbery at Ramsbury Manor, Wiltshire.

However, ATG have learnt that the recovered items are only a fraction of the total value of the stolen objects and the Ramsbury silver, 13 Golden Age English table clocks and two remarkable barometers are among the many pieces still at large.

The thieves/handlers gave back the "Shit" broken not wanted crap, to see what would be given in reward money and favours relating to jail time for those awaiting sentence.

To retrieve the high value stolen artworks there needs to be involvement with the private sector, but then again Law Enforcement is not bothered about recovery.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Issued: Monday, 16 October 2006, 12:44:56

Operation Haul - update- Stately Homes art raids!!

A further four men have been charged over the weekend in connection with Operation Haul.

Danny O’Loughlin, aged 30, Albert David Johnson, aged 31, Richard Steven Samuel Johnson, aged 31 and Michael Nicholls, aged 27, all from Cheltenham, will appear before Reading magistrates on Thursday (19/10) charged with conspiracy to steal ATM machines and conspiracy to commit burglary.

A further six people arrested last Tuesday (10/10) and being held in Gloucester have been released on police bail pending further inquiries.

So, four of the Johnson clan have been charged with various offences!!!

Wonder if this will curb high value art thefts from Stately Homes and country houses?

Somehow, I don't think so and there is the small matter of recovering the high value artworks still outstanding.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Stately Homes crime gang, arrests Update!!!!!!!!!!


Operation Haul - update

Ricky Johnson, aged 53, (brother of Alan "Jimmy" Johnson) from Cheltenham, has been charged with conspiracy to commit burglary and will be appearing before Reading Magistrates this afternoon.

Interesting to note, Ricky Johnson said when convicted of overcharging pensioners for shoddy work, said he was following the guidence of Jesus, "Jesus works in mysterious ways"See "Lord Lag..." article below

A further five people have been arrested this morning in connection with Operation Haul and will be questioned by detectives today.

Another four people have been released on police bail until December.

Ends.

Those Art and Antiques dealers who have bought high value stolen art from Jimmy and Ricky Johnson have been busy hiding those stolen artworks.

These top end criminals know full well that they will be implicated so the high value artworks aquired will be buried until there can be a way found to allow them to surface.

It is interesting to note, that when art crime gang members sell their ill gotten gains to friendly art dealers, the dealers themselves become targets.

There have been instances when art dealers who buy stolen art have been targeted by the crime gangs and have been robbed of the stolen artworks. They obviously cannot report this to police so the Art Crime gang get to sell the stolen art twice.

When art thieves get arrested and charged they often try and bargin a lighter sentence by informing on the art dealers they have sold stolen art too.

If becomes common knowledge among art loss investigators who has what stolen art.

Trouble is getting the artworks off the criminal art dealers is the hard part, not just because of the unrealistic demands of the criminal art dealers , but also becuse of the unrealistic demands of law enforcement, who want to leave private investigstors exposed to arrest, violence from the criminal underworld and out of pocket!!!!!

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Police arrest gang blamed for art and antiques thefts at stately homes

· Fourteen held in dawn raids by five forces
· Many items still missing in multimillion-pound thefts

Sandra Laville
Wednesday October 11, 2006
The Guardian

Detectives claimed yesterday to have smashed a gang of arts and antiques thieves responsible for looting tens of millions of pounds worth of property from stately homes in Britain. More than 100 police officers from five forces were involved in the raids and 14 people seized.

A trifle premature to think police have smashed this or any other Art and Antiques crime gang.
This is just another cynical headline grab by Police, lets see the next batch of high value art thefts coming soon!!!!!!!

For four years the audacious burglaries at some of Britain's best-known stately homes in Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire and Worcestershire have embarrassed police and left leading insurers in the art world smarting from multimillion-pound payouts for antiques, curios and paintings from leading collections.


Victims such as Lord Rothschild have called in private detectives to find their stolen property, with little success.

The truth is that Lord Rothschold has been offered his gold boxes etc back by those of us investigating stolen art, Thames Valley Police agreed to allow the Rothschild collection to surface, however, Scotland Yard stepped in and forbid any recoveries of stolen art, effectively slapping down Thames Valley Police as the "Country Yokels"

But senior officers claimed yesterday that their operation had ended the activities of the gang, which they said was responsible for at least 10 raids on stately homes, including the theft of £30m of antiques from Ramsbury Manor near Marlborough, in what is believed to be Britain's biggest domestic burglary.

Wishful thinking on behalf of Police,This is just another demonstration of the failed "Hitting corks in a barrel" approach, so, now comes the backlash, there will be a spate of further high value art thefts to show the art crime gangs are still operating with impunity and there will be occasions whereby highly important works of art are damaged, acid thrown over canvases etc, just to show that the Police can never win, perverse as this may seem.

The Guardian has learned that yesterday's raids came after a man whom detectives claim is the "godfather" of organised art and antique crime in the south-west, pleaded guilty at Oxford crown court on Monday to conspiracy to steal from cash machines. Alan "Jimmy" Johnson, the leader of an Irish-born travelling family from Gloucestershire, has been pursued for several years by police investigating the art and antiques thefts.

Johnson, who is in Leicester prison awaiting sentence for the cash machine conspiracy, admits he has targeted country homes for antiques but vigorously denies any part in the spate of stately home raids and has claimed he is being made a scapegoat.

To be fair to Alan "Jimmy" Johnson, he has been talking to Ex Art Detective Charlie Hill, who has been passing information to Police. Jimmy Johnson and David Dudon have been spilling the beans to Charlie Hill about art thefts and stealing bronze sculptures. Charlie Hill has been stifled in making any kind of art recoveries so he has been trying to set up those with access to high value stolen art, this strategy is fraught with danger and we now see Jimmy Johnson being "Hung out to dry" by Charlie Hill and law enforcement.

To dump all of this on Jimmy Johnson is a travesty,######, aka, as ##### from Southern England has been giving information to Police about the art crime gangs, which include Irish Gypsy criminals from Limerick, Dublin etc.

########, holds a Gypsy/Traveller event each year in the grounds of his manor, where Gypsies and travellers from all over Britain and Ireland gather, it is at these events ###### gets most inside information to pass to Police.

While ########, enjoys the fruits of dealing in stolen artworks, because of the pass given to him by his Mason Police friends, others within the travelling community are hounded and arrested, as we see with the raids carried out in the Thanmes Valley.

To all travelling, Irish, and British Gypsies, Dundon/McCarthy, Johnson, Sheehy, Kent clans, Newark boys etc

YOU HAVE "SEWER RATS" IN YOUR RANKS

Two years ago Jimmy Johnson offered his services to Lord Rothschild to help him find millions of pounds worth of miniature gold boxes and works of art lost in a smash and grab raid at Waddesdon Manor, near Aylesbury, Bucks, in 2003. No property was recovered, because Scotland Yard blocked any return of the Rothschild collection, it is still out there waiting to be recovered if authorities would take their heads out of the sand and employ the services of those of us able to recover these and other stolen art collections.

Thames Valley police said the dawn raids in an operation codenamed Haul involved "a show of strength", although officers were not armed.


Police are questioning the gang, thought to number more than 21, over conspiracy to commit 23 offences including burglaries from stately homes and country houses, shops, hotels and a string of thefts from cash machines.

Detective Superintendent Mark Warwick, the senior investigating officer, said: "The crimes being investigated include some of the highest profile and highest value burglaries this country has ever seen. I think we have totally nullified the effects of the gang and disrupted their network." Police believe the thieves visited the stately homes - which were open to the public - to carry out reconnaissance missions in advance of the raids. Targets are still being evaluated by criminals and the vulnerable ones will be robbed, dispite the boasts of Mark Warwick, ask Mark Warwick why the Rothschild collection has not been recovered?

Several of the burglaries, including the raid on Lord Rothschild's home, Waddesdon Manor, involved the use of 4x4 vehicles, with a metal stake attached to the roof to ram heavily bolted gates and doors.

In last February's attack on Ramsbury Manor, the 17th century home of Harry Hyams, a reclusive property tycoon and art collector who built Centre Point in London, the burglars broke in through a downstairs window at about 10.40pm and seized items worth about £30m. The property houses a world-famous collection of fine art, including that of Titian, Rubens and Rembrandt. Harry Hyams was told that the art crime gang were planning a return to his house for a second haul of artworks, Mr Hyams, alarmed by this is living in fear.

The Hyams raid was because of good inside information provided to the art crime gang, Harry Hyams has the light swtiches in his house placed in unusual places, the thieves knew this and together with other inside knowledge enabled the raid to be successful. Police were offered intelligence about Harry Hyams and other targets, but refused to pay for the intelligence, thus Mr Hyams was robbed, as will others on the "List"

Despite the arrests, detectives said yesterday they were not confident of recovering substantial amounts of the art and antiques stolen. Because police will not allow anyone to recover those works of art in a way that see's reward monies paid to art loss investigators, some of which are former Police Officers.

They claim to have found a third of the property involved, including 140 items worth £12m from Ramsbury Manor which were discovered this year in an underground cellar on waste ground near Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire. Police did not discover these items, they were led to them as a demonstration of goodwill by Art Loss investigators who convinced the criminals to hand back the less saleable artworks stolen from Harry Hyams. Unfortunetly Police did not keep their word and authorise payment to the law abiding art loss investigators, another demonstation of Law enforcement acting in a disengenious manner.
So, the "Mexican stand off" is back inplace.

Experts said the artefacts have probably been sold on in India, Russia and China.
Some and some, all the artworks are available and if Police take their heads out of the sand they could be party to a series of recoveries that end with a "Sting in the tail"

Sarah Jackson, of the Art Loss register, Britain's biggest database of stolen art, said: "A lot of this property will be passed around between criminal gangs and not surface in the antiques trade at all.

"It may be swapped for stolen cars or a stash of cocaine. It becomes another form of currency."

She said sales catalogues of major art and antiques houses were checked against the register and her team worked with police to recover items. But many of the collections involved in Operation Haul appear to have disappeared. Fabia Bromovsky, spokeswoman for Lord Rothschild, said: "We have found no trace of the property that was stolen. We have absolutely no idea where it has gone." Fabia, Fabia, come on tell the truth, you and Lord Rothschild know where the artworks are and who has control of them, it is Police who have told you not to privetly recover them.

Anne Gascoigne, owner of a 14th century manor house in Stanton Harcourt, Witney, Oxfordshire, which has been raided twice in three years, said apart from a couple of items, there was no trace of any of her priceless collection of 18th century silver soup tureens, ice buckets and vegetable dishes, given to her family by George III.

Yes there is, a dealer from Brighton Sussex has got the main silver pieces, it can be revcovered, arrests can be made, but Police will not allow this to happen and monies to be paid to the private sector.


Robert Hiscox, of Hiscox insurers, which has paid out to several clients as a result of the multimillion pound raids, said yesterday: "If police have caught them, that is good news."
Robert Hiscox, said this with his tounge firmly in his cheek.



Related articles
03.02.2006: Mansion art haul may be Britain's biggest
02.02.2006: £20m art theft riddle solved in court
02.02.2006: Stealing beauty
28.01.2006: Artful dodgers
Missing masterpieces: a virtual gallery, by Jonathan Jones

Special reports
Art theft
Crime

Useful links
The world's most wanted art
Art Loss Register
Invaluable
Object ID: international standard for describing art
Sotheby's
Christie's
Metropolitan police
Swift-find: online registry of valuables
Carabinieri: searchable database of looted art (in Italian)






14 arrested over £80m raids on stately homes

By Nick Britten and Richard Savill Telegraph
(Filed: 11/10/2006)

Police investigating a series of multi-million pound raids at some of Britain's grandest stately homes believe they have broken a major crime network after arresting 14 people yesterday.

Hole in Black Hill and stolen goods
Stolen antiques were found in a hole at an old nursery in Black Hill, including property, above, from Ramsbury Manor

An operation involving five forces rounded up some "extremely violent" criminals alleged to have been involved in a 17-month spree of thefts from at least five stately homes, as well as a string of business premises, hotels, shops and cash machines. Remember "Official Warning" article below!!!

One of the homes targeted by the gang was Ramsbury Manor in Wiltshire, home of the property tycoon Harry Hyams. In February, thieves stole art valued at £30 million in what is believed to be Britain's biggest domestic robbery.

Because the value of art and antiques theft is extremely difficult to assess, detectives believe that the worth of goods taken during the crime spree could be approaching £80 million.

More than 100 officers swooped yesterday on three addresses in Oxfordshire, Worcestershire and Gloucestershire. One of the targets was a caravan site in Evesham, Worcs, and some of those arrested are believed to be from a well-known gipsy family.
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Last night they were being questioned about 23 raids and police said that with the gang numbering more than 21, further arrests were expected.

The properties included Woolley Park House in Berkshire, Stanton Harcourt Manor, Oxfordshire, Rendcombe Manor, Gloucestershire, and Ombersley Court in Worcester, some of which are open to the public. So far, only goods worth £10 million have been recovered and detectives believe most of the art and antiques were stolen to order.

The arrests were part of Operation Haul. Established in October 2005 in response to a rise in the number of violent, high-value burglaries, it brought together the police forces of Thames Valley, West Mercia, Warwickshire, Wiltshire and Gloucestershire.

Police making an arrest
West Mercia police making an arrest at Cleeve Prior

Seven people were arrested during the early morning raids in Cleeve Prior, Evesham, six were arrested in Gloucestershire and one in Oxfordshire.

Francis Habgood, the assistant chief constable of Thames Valley police, said: "The crime being investigated by Operation Haul include some of the highest profile and highest value burglaries this country has seen.

These arrests should demonstrate that where criminality does not recognise police force boundaries, neither do we – we will work together very closely to ensure that suspects are identified and brought to justice."

Police described the thieves as "extremely violent". Det Supt Mark Warwick, of Thames Valley police, said that a "great deal" of the stolen property had been sold on. Around a third of the haul had been recovered and he hoped that inquiries over the next few days could lead to more being seized.

Mr Warwick added: "This was a criminal gang that needed to be dismantled and we needed to make sure they were disabled in terms of their activity. I think we have totally nullified the effects of the gang and disrupted their network."

Police have recovered around half of the antiques stolen from Ramsbury Manor but the whereabouts of many of the goods from the other homes remain a mystery. Detectives urged antiques dealers to keep a watchful eye out for anything suspicious.

The first stately home to be burgled, in October 2005, was Obersley Court, the ancestral home of the Sandys family. It was, according to legend, chosen by the Nazis for use as a headquarters from which they would have mounted an attack on Birmingham following an invasion.

A month later, on Nov 16, thieves targeted Stanton Harcourt manor in Witney, Oxon. The manor, which is open to the public from March to September, was built between 1380 and 1470, and its Pope's Tower was lent to the celebrated poet Alexander Pope between 1717 and 1718 as he worked on his translation of the Iliad.

The Harcourts are the only surviving family of the Norman Conquest in Oxfordshire.

Within a week thieves hit Rendcomb Manor, near Cirencester, which houses a music college.

After targeting Ramsbury manor last Feb 1, they waited until April 25 before stealing from Woolley Park House in Chaddleworth, a private residence owned by the Lord Lieutenant of Berkshire.

Art Hostage

Little Fish Thrown To The Wolves, Art Hostage

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Man accused over burglary spree

Little Fish
A 20-year-old man has been charged in connection with a string of raids on homes across the country.

Samuel Smith-Hutchinson, from Cheltenham, has been accused of burglary and aggravated vehicle taking.

He will appear before Reading magistrates on Wednesday.

On Tuesday, police arrested 14 people suspected of stealing about £30m through robberies on country homes and cash machines.

The arrests, part of Operation Haul, were made in Worcestershire, Oxfordshire and Gloucestershire.

West Mercia, Thames Valley, Warwickshire, Wiltshire and Gloucestershire forces were involved.

Police said the robberies included some of the highest profile and highest value burglaries ever seen in England.

Some evidence against this Little Fish may be DNA collected from the returned artworks stolen from Harry Hyams Ramsbury Manor Wiltshire home.

Jimmy Johnson via Charlie Hill should have realised the authorities would check the returned artworks for DNA, still all part of the ploy for Jimmy Johnson to recieve a lighter sentence.

Law Enforcement targeted Jimmy Johnson in order to demand he facilitate the return of stolen high value art rather than allow Jimmy Johnson to collect a reward for facilitating the return of stolen art.

Unfortunetly this tactic only results in lesser artworks being returned, leaveing the truly unique artworks outstanding.

If lighter jail sentences are the carrot for the return of high value stolen artworks then perhaps this may allow some of the most valuable pieces to surface.

However, the private sector will be needed to identify those who have access to high value stolen art.