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Monday, December 24, 2007

Stolen Art Watch, De Morgan Pottery Handed Back/Recovered !!

Antiques recovered from De Morgan theft

Antique ceramics stolen from the De Morgan Centre in Wandsworth have been recovered by detectives.

Police believe burglars broke into the museum in West Hill, Wandsworth, on July 29 after climbing a ladder and getting in through a first floor toilet window.

Six plates and a vase - valued at £200,000 - were taken during the break in.

Another plate was smashed into pieces and a vase damaged after the burglars broke a glass display cabinet holding the antiques.

A £15,000 reward was offered for information leading to the return of the ceramics.

The recovered art works were all William de Morgan pieces, some comprising unique pieces of art.

This included a red and gold lustre dish of a snake wrapped around the body of a winged dragon; a red and gold lustre dish with three peacocks; and a two handled lustre urn with snakes and cherubs playing musical instruments.

The ceramics were found in south London on Friday.

Police say no arrests have been made and inquiries are continuing.

Detective Sergeant Vernon Rapley of the Met's Art and Antiques Unit, said: "We are really pleased to have been able to return these beautiful objects in time for Christmas.

"We have been assured by the De Morgan Centre that they will be put back on display so that public can once again enjoy them."

Art Hostage comments:

What a wonderful Christmas present for the people of London.

Well done to **** ********* for enabling this recovery to happen.

However, as with all recoveries of stolen art, the sting in tail is whether any of the reward money is paid ??

That decision is wholly for the investigating Police to make.

Anyone claiming the reward must satisfy Police, who then will give a letter of absolute discretion to the Loss Adjuster, who can then pay the reward.

Alternatively, if the reward claimant is a registered Police Informant/Sewer Rat, the reward will be paid backwards, Loss Adjuster to Police, who pass the money to their Informant/Sewer Rat.

I must say it is really gratifying to see these ceramics returned for the public to enjoy.

Looking forward to 2008, the Chinese year of the Rat, perhaps we may see many more important stolen art recoveries.

However, 2008 could also turn out to be the year when iconic art is stolen with more vigour and regularity than ever seen.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Stolen Art Watch, Picasso Pinched, Anyone Fu-Coffee !!

Picasso stolen from Brazil museum

Thieves in Brazil have stolen two paintings said to be worth $100m (£252m) in a dawn raid on Latin America's most renowned museum.

Police said Pablo Picasso's Portrait of Suzanne Bloch, and The Coffee Worker by Brazil's Candido Portinari, were taken from the Museum of Art of Sao Paulo.

The operation, which lasted about three minutes, was caught on security cameras, officials said.

Police investigating the theft are due to give a news conference.

Valuable pieces

The theft took place shortly after 0500 (0700 GMT).

The thieves left behind some of their tools, and police have shut down the museum to search for clues, officials said.

The Portrait of Suzanne Bloch, painted in 1904, is among the most valuable pieces in the museum's collection.

The Coffee Worker (O Lavrador de Cafe) was painted in 1939 and is one of Portinari's most famous works.

O Globo newspaper said that the museum's press service had estimated their joint worth at more than $100m.

However, museum spokesman Eduardo Cosomano told the Associated Press news agency that it was difficult to judge their exact monetary value.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Stolen Art Watch, You've Grassed on me, Well, you're a Fence !!

Fence sold loot at auction houses

By Megi Rychlikova
A FENCE who used auction houses to dispose of a burglar's loot from North Yorkshire properties has been jailed for three years.

Lynden Yates Kitchen, 40, tried to sell a £3,000 painting which had been stolen from Hutton Wandesley, near Rufforth, through a London auctioneer, but the deceit was discovered, said Chris Smith, prosecuting.

Kitchen also took several thousand pounds worth of antiques and other loot from Settrington House, near Malton, and Great Broughton, north of the North York Moors, to a Darlington auctioneer.

Last month, Michael Edward Kenny was convicted by a jury of six burglaries. After Kenny's trial ended, Kitchen admitted he knew he was fencing loot from Kenny's raids.

"I have come to the conclusion that you are a professional criminal," Judge Jim Spencer QC told Kitchen.

Kitchen, no fixed address, pleaded guilty to three offences of handling stolen goods and was jailed for three years.

Kenny, of Finchley, London, is on the run after skipping bail halfway through his trial. He had previous convictions for burglary and was jailed for eight years in his absence after the verdicts.

The Press reported last Friday how Kenny had now been named as one of the UK's most wanted criminals.

For Kitchen, James Robinson said he had already suffered some punishment because the handling charges had prevented him being released early from a four-year sentence for drug dealing.

It had also prevented him from attending a rehabilitation course for gamblers.

The barrister suggested that Kenny was the main man in the crimes.

Mr Smith said the police had received information that suggested Kenny may have threatened a third man in the case and accused him of being a "grass".

The burglaries occurred in 2004, York Crown Court heard.

Kitchen had attempted to sell the painting in July 2004 and the other stolen items in February 2005.

Art Hostage comments:

When criminals fall-out, Police get success, divide and rule, food for thought !!
If no-one Snitched/grassed, Police would be left high and dry, as 85% of Police success comes from informants, Snitches, Sewer Rats !!

Monday, December 03, 2007

Stolen Art Watch, We'll Give You a Medal of Honour for Recovering the Stolen VC's !!

Prime Minister Helen Clark says all hopes are on an effective police operation to stop stolen military medals being moved out of New Zealand.

Interpol has been alerted to the theft of nine Victoria Crosses and a Bar, and two George Crosses.

The Victoria Cross and Bar awarded to Charles Upham were among the medals taken in the break-in at the Army Museum at Waiouru early on Sunday morning.

Miss Clark says her best guess is that it was a "steal-to-order" theft.

She says a law passed last year enabled New Zealand to sign up to international conventions on stolen cultural items.

Miss Clark says if the medals turn up in countries that are parties to the conventions, New Zealand will have legal means to have them returned.

Border alert
Customs has issued a border alert in case of an attempt to take the medals out of New Zealand.

Ruapehu Inspector Steve Mastrovich says police are looking at CCTV footage from inside the museum, and also plan to look at footage from service stations within two hours' driving distance of Waiouru, in the central North Island.

Inspector Mastrovich told Checkpoint police have several weeks worth of security footage.

He says police and ESR forensic scientists have recovered items outside the museum but whether they are germane to the inquiry remains to be seen. He says at this stage nothing appears to have been left behind by the offenders.

He also says the scene examination may be finished by midday on Tuesday.

The thieves gained entry to the Valour Alcove, where the medals were kept, and left the museum via a fire escape at the back of the building.

Inspector Mastrovich says the theft is a 'stupid' crime and says those responsible will find it difficult to sell such well-known national treasures.

Director devastated
Museum director Raymond Seymour told Checkpoint the "gutwrenching" theft has left him "absolutely devastated".

"This crime is a crime against every New Zealander. What they have done is taken the heartbeat out of every New Zealander. These medals .... were awarded to such brave men."

Colonel Seymour described the theft as a "well-planned mission", saying the perpetrators must have been in the museum previously to observe what was going on.

He says a patrol was in the area at the time the alarm was set off and the building's own security guard was on the scene within three minutes.

Colonel Seymour says security cameras are mounted over the display cabinets that held the medals, and in many other parts of the museum.

The museum remains closed, with the commander of the Waiouru Army base, Colonel Roger McElwain, saying security will be progressively updated, although some action will be taken immediately..

Ransom theory
A Victoria Cross expert says he believes the stolen medals are likely to be held for ransom.

Michael Maxton is the curator for The Michael Ashcroft Trust in England, which cares for a tenth of the 1357 VCs awarded since 1856.

He told Nine to Noon the fact that relatively few medals were taken showed the thieves knew exactly what they were looking for.

Mr Maxton says those responsible would have known the medals would not be able to be sold, meaning they would likely be held for ransom.

He says a theft of this scale from an historical institution is unprecedented.

Reward suggested
Charley Hill, a former detective from Scotland Yard's art and antiques unit who recovered The Scream by Edvard Munch, says the most realistic way of getting the medals back is for the police to offer a reward and wait for someone to surface.

Police have said it is unlikely a reward will be offered.

The Army says the collection of medals would be valued in the millions, but its importance to the country is immeasurable.

Chief of Army, Major General Lou Gardiner, told Morning Report the Army feels violated by the theft and it will have to review security.

Highest honour
The Victoria Cross, inscribed "For valour", is the highest honour in the British and Commonwealth military.

The BBC reports a total of 1,355 VCs have been awarded since the award was instituted by Queen Victoria in 1856 following the Crimean War. Only 12 have been awarded since 1946.

Twenty-one VCs and one Bar were awarded to New Zealanders before the Victoria Cross for New Zealand was instituted in 1999.

Amongst the VCs taken in the raid were the VC and Bar awarded to New Zealand's most decorated soldier, Captain Charles Upham, for valour in Crete and North Africa during World War II.

Captain Upham, who died in 1994, was only the third person, as well as the only combatant soldier, to have been awarded the medal twice.

Two George Medals, awarded to civilians for great bravery, and an Albert Medal, awarded for lifesaving, were also stolen.

National treasures
Defence Minister Phil Goff says the medals are national treasures.

Only 22 New Zealanders have been awarded Victoria Crosses.

In a statement issued on Sunday, Major General Gardiner said the value of the medals is what they symbolise:

"This theft is not just from Defence and Army, it is from the nation. New Zealand's history and heritage is closely interwoven with its military history and heritage.

"These medals were awarded to their recipients for their extraordinary valour and have come to symbolise the huge sacrifices that all New Zealanders made in the many conflicts fought for the freedoms we have come to accept."

Major General Gardiner said the theft of the medals is a theft from New Zealand.

Medals list
The list of medals is:

Samuel Frickleton VC; Leslie Andrew VC; Randolph Ridling (Albert Medal); Reginald Judson VC, DCM, MM; John Grant VC; Henry Laurent VC; Jack Hinton VC; Clive Hulme VC; Keith Elliot VC; Charles Upham VC and Bar; David Russell GC and Ken Hudson GC.

The Victoria Cross for New Zealand medal recently awarded to Corporal Willie Apiata is not among them.

Police are appealing to anyone who was in the Waiouru area, or passing through, between midnight and 2am Sunday to call 0800 VALOUR, or 0800 825 687, from Tuesday morning.

Art Hostage comments:

By refusing to offer any reward for recovery or arrests, authorities are making further iconic art thefts less likely and attractive to thieves.

This does not help recover the stolen iconic medals, or the stolen Cavalier painting taken this year in Australia.

However, our Antipodean friends are leading the courageous fight against high value art theft by refusing to offer rewards, false or not.

It is about time Law Enforcement were banned from accepting information from public and informants, this will show how competent Police are using their own initiative and talent.

Currently, 85% of Police Detective work is done by public and informant information, giving some Police Officers the ability to serve their time in a Dilatory, lazy, and incompetent manner, just waiting to collect their pension.

Upon another note, as the medals stolen were awarded for Valour, then it is only right to offer a Medal of Honour for recovering them, rather than some false promise of reward money.

The recipient of this Medal of Honour for recovering the stolen VC's, etc, can then use the kudos surrounding their medal award to make money with the story.

One to watch !!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Stolen Art Watch, Dilatory Delay, Makes Stolen Antiques Harder to Trace !!

Raiders steal antiques worth nearly £100,000

By Pat Smith

NEARLY £100,000 worth of antiques have been stolen from a house in Bromsgrove.

Police are appealing for help in locating the large quantity of valuables, believed to have been taken from a house in the Slideslow area sometime since August.

The stolen property includes paintings, furniture, chinaware, glassware, jewellery and electrical items, and is estimated to be worth around £95,000.

The haul includes an oil painting in a gold frame of a boy playing a flute with a Cavalier dog, worth £20,000; another oil painting of cows in a gold frame, worth £15,000; an oblong wooden cabinet with glass frontage and a drawer at the bottom, worth £10,000; and a set of oriental porcelain dishes and small cups, valued at £5,000.

In addition the thieves took a light wood glass fronted china display cabinet with hand carved shelves, worth £20,000; a light wood glass fronted cupboard with bow shaped doors with light coloured wood panels, worth £3,000; and a Queen Anne-style desk made of dark wood with side and centre drawers, worth around £1,500.

A wealth of smaller items also went missing during the raid including a Chinese plate, worth £50; silver dishes, worth £1,000; a silver tea set, worth £1,500; and a set of oriental porcelain dishes and small cups, worth £5,000.

A large amount of modern valuables were also stolen including a Sony music centre, a 32 inch TV and a DVD machine together worth thousands of pounds.

PC Jamie Weaver, of Bromsgrove police, said: "These items will probably be sold through auction or local antique dealers and I am appealing for people to look out for them."

Anyone with information is asked to contact PC Weaver on 08457 444888 or ring Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.

Art Hostage comments:

Stolen in August and only publicised now, three months later !!

If an Antiques dealer has bought these items unwittingly, who is going to compensate the Antiques dealer ???

What incentive is offered to Antiques dealers to come forward, I'll tel you, none what so ever.

So, these stolen antiques, like thousands of other stolen artworks, will stay out of the reach of investigators, unless they stumble across them when investigating other criminality.

Rolls eyes, leaves room in disgust !!

Friday, November 23, 2007

Stolen Art Watch, Stolen in Sussex, Sold in the States, Art Crime is Mainstream !!

With the help of investigators both sides of the Atlantic, stolen paintings which belonged to an elderly man, who died shortly after they were taken, have been recovered.

Peter Crook, who lived in Granville Road and was 90 when he died, was conned by a man offering to restore and clean items of silverware and paintings.

A number of paintings and silverware which had sentimental value were stolen. Amongst these were two paintings by his grandfather, GF Wetherbee.

Dr John Crook, the victim's son, said, "I felt anger that my parents were taken for a ride by an unscrupulous individual.

"He came back on several occasions to gain their confidence. Elderly people should be suspicious of individuals coming knocking on their door asking to look at items."

Dr Crook registered the items on the Art Loss Register (ALR), the world's leading database of stolen art.

The Art Loss Register is a team of art loss investigators who have helped in the recovery of more than 1,000 artworks, with a combined estimated value in the region of £100 million.

The group is best known for high-profile recoveries such as Cezanne, Picasso, Warhol and Nolde, but dedicate just as much effort to recovering items stolen from family homes.

Dr Crook kept up his search for the paintings.

Through chance and persistence he happened to come across an image of two of the stolen Wetherbee paintings on an American website and asked ALR to investigate.

The ALR's team worked hard to pursue the paintingsand traced the artworks through eBay and a Maryland auction house.

After months of work, assisted by the police and the auction house, which relinquished its claim to the paintings when it discovered their history, culminated in the paintings being recovered.

Earlier this year they were returned to Dr Crook at the ALR's offices, in London.

The Crook family is delighted to have the paintings — which are of a river landscape with children and children feeding hens — back. The characters in the paintings are members of the family.

Mr Crook said, "I did a search for the painting's artist and saw they had been put up for sale in America, so naturally I was very excited. ALR worked very hard in recovering them, it wasn't easy."

Art Hostage comments:

What happened to the man who stole these paintings ??

Just shows the Sussex stolen art market is thriving, just as House prices seem to be falling.

Perhaps the Sussex new money property tycoons will revert back to stolen art if property is a bad investment ????????

Worth noting and food for thought, for every two stolen paintings recovered, there are 48 that remain outstanding, working on a recovery rate of around 4-5%.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Stolen Art Watch, This is not the Begining of the End, it is just the End of the Begining !!

Dumped oil painting fetches $1m

A painting stolen 20 years ago then found lying in a pile of rubbish on a New York City street has sold at auction for just over $1m (£484,000).

The 1970 painting Tres Personajes (Three People) by Mexican artist Rufino Tamayo was taken from a warehouse where the owners had placed it while moving.

It was found by Elizabeth Gibson as she took her morning walk four years ago on Manhattan's Upper West Side.

After discovering the painting's value, she returned it to its original owner.

It sold for $1,049,000 (£507,900) to a telephone bidder at Sotheby's New York auction house.

Sotheby's describes the painting as an important work from Rufino Tamayo's mature period.

Website clue

Elizabeth Gibson said she was drawn to the painting when she spotted it on the street.

"I know nothing of modern art but it didn't seem right for any piece of art to be discarded like that," she said.

It hung on a wall in her home for several months before a friend suggested it might be valuable.

An internet search revealed that the missing painting had been the subject of an appeal for information on the Antiques Roadshow TV programme.

Ms Gibson has already received a $15,000 reward the couple put up when it was stolen, plus an undisclosed percentage of the sale of the painting.

It is still not known how the painting ended up on the street.

The owners - a couple from Houston whose names have not been disclosed - bought the oil on canvas, with marble dust and sand worked into the paint, in 1977 at Sotheby's.

August Uribe, Sotheby's senior vice-president of impressionist and modern art, said that the husband had paid $55,000 for it as a gift for his wife. The husband later died.

At the time of the theft in 1987, the couple alerted local and federal authorities.

Information on the painting was posted on the databases of the International Foundation for Art Research, and the Art Loss Register.

The FBI is still investigating the theft.

Art Hostage comments:

It appears, at least for the moment, Ms Gibson is in line for a windfall.

I would imagine Ms Gibson's cut of the sale price would be around 10-15%, giving her around $90,000 to add to the $15,000 already paid to her.

However, as with all these things, the FBI have not gone away, you know !!

Don't be surprised to hear of Ms Gibson being arrested sometime in the future,if the FBI can join the dots of how,in reality,Ms Gibson came into possession of this purloined artwork.

The secret to returning stolen art and making a valid claim for any reward offered is:

"The person claiming the reward must stand up to public and law enforcement scrutiny."

Currently, this can only be achieved if the reward claimant is a Man of the Cloth, a Catholic Priest.


"Forgive me Father for I have sinned"

Father **** to confessioner:

"Go on my son, the Boston Vermeer, yes, yes, now what about Rembrandt's Storm on the Sea of Galilee, OK my son."

Soon after:

Hello, is that the Garda/Police/Boston Police Department?,

"This is Father *****, I have found the stolen Gardner art in one of my confession boxes and would like to return them forthwith, oh yes, and claim the reward."

"That's the only way to do it !"

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Stolen Art Watch, Meet the Fakers !!

How garden shed fakers fooled the art world

· Talented son and aged parents admit fraud
· Museum paid £440,000 for Egyptian princess,,2212590,00.html

David Ward
Saturday November 17, 2007
The Guardian

A man was jailed for four years and eight months yesterday after earning £850,000 from making fake art treasures with the help of his parents in their 80s in their terraced house in Bolton.

Shaun Greenhalgh's biggest triumph was the sale for £440,000 of a statue which he claimed was 3,300 years old and represented the Princess Amarna, daughter of Pharaoh Akhenaten and Queen Nefertiti.

It had, in fact, been "knocked up" in a garden shed. But he and his parents fooled the museum and art gallery of the town in Greater Manchester, which bought the piece and put it on display.

Greenhalgh, 47, his father, George, 84, and mother, Olive, 83, admitted conspiring to defraud art institutions between June 1989 and March 2006. She was given a suspended jail term of 12 months, while her husband will be sentenced later.

Their cottage industry did not confine itself to Egyptology, but produced artifacts ranging from a Roman plate to a goose supposedly sculpted by Barbara Hepworth. According to the Metropolitan police arts and antiques unit, the trio may have worked less for profit than to shame the art world.

"We believe Shaun is a failed creator who had no success selling his work because, as he saw it, he had not been to art school and did not know the right people," said Detective Sergeant Vernon Rapley. "He realised he could make more money conning the art market. He wanted to show them up, and to a degree he succeeded."

"The antiquities and art were produced by Shaun Greenhalgh and sold by George Greenhalgh with, from time to time, the assistance of his mother Olive," said Peter Cadwallader, prosecuting, at Bolton crown court.

"It appears that, although gifted as an artist, Shaun Greenhalgh was not a salesman. His father, in particular, fulfilled that role admirably, and fooled experts from all the great auction houses and other experts from Leeds to Vienna and from London to New York."

The business began in 1989 when George Greenhalgh took to Manchester University a small silver object bearing an alleged Old English inscription and containing a relic of the true cross. Experts at the British Museum and English Heritage concluded it was not an original but that the wood was possibly genuine. It was bought for £100, and later made the subject of an academic thesis.

The court heard that the family business was exposed when three "Assyrian" stone reliefs, taken to the British Museum, were proved to be fakes. Outside court, detectives said experts spotted a spelling mistake in their cuneiform script.

"It will be never known the full extent of the enterprise or the monies that were made," said Mr Cadwallader. "As to bank accounts, the records only go back for six years, which is only a little over a third of the whole period."

For Shaun Greenhalgh, Andrew Nuttall said: "Mr Greenhalgh discovered many years ago he has no style of his own ... He had one outlook and that was his garden shed. The Amarna Princess was knocked up in three weeks in this garden shed.

"He was trying to perfect the love he had for such arts. That talent was misdirected."

The Greenhalghs also pleaded guilty to laundering the money made from the fakes. Rapley said: "Despite their talent and ability to reproduce these artworks and the false provenances that accompanied them, they were still living a relatively frugal life on the proceeds of their crime.

"Whilst numerous forged items have been recovered and every effort has been made to trace all the Greenhalgh forgeries, there can be little doubt that there are a number of forgeries still circulating within the art market."
Below, Copy of The Meeting House by L.S. Lowry
Art Hostage comments:
The current art market is so competitive that people get intoxicated by Provenance, they fail to spot the obvious.
Interesting to note there was a spelling mistake in the Syrian relief, simple mistakes have undone many a sophisticated cunning plan.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Stolen Art Watch, If You Vant a Vatch, Buy a Vatch, Stop Vatching the Vatches in the Vindow !!

Hickory, dickory dock: Stolen museum loot found

By Danny Rubinstein

Dozens of rare and priceless clocks stolen from the L.A. Mayer Museum of Islamic Art in Jerusalem 24 years ago, in a theft that has mystified investigators, have returned home and are soon to be presented to the public.

Among the items, located in August, 2006, after the museum's director received a telephone tip from a Tel Aviv watchmaker, the rarest and most expensive clock is a gold and rock-crystal pocket-watch made over a number of years for Marie Antoinette by the French watchmaker Abraham Louis Breguet (1747-1823).

The theft of 40 items from the original collection of 100 clocks, one of the most important in the world, occured on Friday night, April 15, 1983, when thieves managed to bend the bars on a back window of the museum and use a ladder to get inside, covering their presence with a large truck, which they parked in the back, taking advantage of the fact that the alarm system was broken, and the guard was stationed in the front. On Sunday morning when the theft was discovered, police said it had clearly been "commissioned" because the thieves knew to take only the most expensive items in the collection.

The rarer items were known to dealers and galleries the world over, and the search was intense and wide-reaching, but fruitless. Monetary rewards posted by the museum and its insurers went unclaimed.

Then, in August 2006, a break came in the notorious case: The museum's veteran director, Rachel Hasson, received a phone call from a Tel Aviv watchmaker who told her a young lawyer had phoned and invited him to her office to appraise 40 clocks she had in her possession. The watchmaker immediately realized these were some of the clocks stolen from the L.A. Mayer Museum of Islamic Art. The lawyer told him that the clocks belonged to a foreign client of hers.

Hasson immediately reported the information to the museum's board of directors, and a few hours later they arrived at the lawyer's office, only to find that the clocks had been returned to their bank vault. They showed the lawyer a catalog of the clocks and she identified some of them and confirmed that they belonged to her client, a resident of the U.K., who had inherited them following the death of her partner. The lawyer said she would be willing to return them if she were compensated financially.

The board set up a meeting with the lawyer for the next day, when she was to show them the clocks so they could confirm which items from the collection were included. But on the way back to Jerusalem, she called the board chairman, Eli Kahan and said she wanted to finish up the deal in one day and that her client had one condition: to keep her name out of it and do everything through her attorney.

The next day, the attorney showed the board three worn cardboard boxes, with the 40 rare clocks, wrapped in newspaper, including the Breguet creation for Marie Antoinette and another Breguet creation from 1819, known as the "Sympathique," which ran on a system in which a watch placed in a recess of the clock was automatically set and reset, and an 11 cm-long "pistol clock" created at the beginning of the 19th century in France.

Excitedly, the board members spent hours going over the collection. Most of the items were fairly well preserved, but some where damaged. After a brief negotiation, Kahan gave the lawyer a check of not a large amount in return for her assistance. The clocks were brought to Jerusalem and placed secretly in a safe so the story would not get out, and the police were informed of the developments.

The months that followed saw negotiations with the insurance company, which had meanwhile paid the museum's claim on the lost clocks, and work to restore the damaged clocks and prepare them for exhibition once again.

Meanwhile, the identity of the thieves remains a mystery. However they are believed unlikely to have been inveterate watch collectors, but rather local operators, at least two in number. They apparently dismantled some of the clocks, removing and selling gold and jewels. The most expensive clocks were apparently too familiar to be sold and thus remained in their possession over the years.

The clocks, which are unconnected to Islamic culture, are part of the collection of Sir David Lionel Salomons, who in 1855 became the first Jewish mayor of London. They were donated by his daughter, Mrs. Vera Francis Salomons, a British philanthropist who founded the L.A. Mayer Museum of Islamic Art and named it after her professor of Islamic studies and rector of the Hebrew University, who was also a collector of rare clocks.

Art Hostage M.A. B.A. (Hons) A.H.E.C. Comments:

In some ways this is a similar case to the Da Vinci Madonna, however, authorities in Israel seem to have taken a softer line with the Lawyers.

Alternatively, Israeli law may be different and allow this kind of buy back and also allow a ransom to be paid.

The Israeli clock case shows the Museum working without informing authorities until it had already recovered its stolen property, something illegal in the UK.

It is only after the event that Israeli authorities have the chance to consider if any laws were broken and if any criminal charges should be sought.

Here in the UK, Scotland in the Da Vinci case, the private investigators, as soon as they were contacted about the stolen Da Vinci Madonna, went running at breakneck speed to "Tell the Teacher" sorry, snitch, sorry, inform authorities.

Do you remember the Weasel featured little turds at school, who would run to the teacher and snitch, opinion was always that the Little Turds would grow up without friends and become Police officers, still without friends, other than their fellow little turds in the Police.

It must be said however, that there have been attempts to recruit decent considerate popular and competent people into the Police, but there is still an element of the Weasel featured little turd syndrome at the core of all aspects of law enforcement.

This means the public are even more reluctant to come forward and help, if those requesting help are the very same Weasel featured Little Snitching Turds, who were hated universally at School.

The law enforcement reaction to recovering stolen art varies from country to country and depends on how powerful those negotiating the return of stolen art are.

The Turner case in point, where the players were establishment figures who clearly paid a multi-million pound ransom. Then a media back-out followed.

The Titian recovery by the much maligned Charlie Hill, where he paid David Dudden £15,000 deposit, then £85,000 post recovery, who in turn paid the money backwards, another buy-back. Charlie Hill was warned he would be arrested if he did this kind of recovery again. Since the Titian how much stolen art has Charlie Hill recovered, none, zero, zilch !!

The Da Vinci case has thrown down the Gauntlet to the legal profession and is asking questions about client attorney privilege.

This is not personal, it is a considered campaign to undermined lawyers and make defending accused that much harder.

The issue of legal aid has been another way to put out of reach, competent lawyers for most defendants, giving Prosecutors an unwarranted advantage.

This march to tip the scales of justice in the prosecution's favour is fraught with danger and will inevitably lead to the increase of unsafe and corrupt convictions.

There is a rumour that the use of underworld supergrasses in on the agenda, so keep an eye out for that !!

Upon another note

When Art Hostage was a lad, he used to go and stare at the expensive watches displayed in a jewellers window.

The Jewish owner came out one day and exclaimed:

"If you Vant a Vatch, buy a Vatch, stop Vatching the Vatches in the Vindow !!"

Subsequent to this first meeting, Art Hostage was taught a great deal by this wise man, who became somewhat of a mentor and good friend.

This Jewish jeweller took Art Hostage under his wing and allow him to learn about buying and selling of jewellery and watches.

Art Hostage used to "run" items on a sale or return basis, even dined with the family.

When the Jewish Jeweller died, he left Art Hostage a Rolex Gold pocket watch and Gold watch chain, the very same one Art Hostage used to look at as a young lad in the Vindow !!

Art Hostage, when asked if he is Jewish replies:

"Unfortunately, that is an Honour for which God has failed to Bestow upon me"

(Allegedly, Art Hostage's natural father was a Polish Jew, (natural mother Irish Catholic), which, I am told, doesn't count !!)

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Stolen Art Watch, Morons of the Week !!


11/07/07 6:30 PST


Santa Rosa police have arrested five people suspected of stealing more than $25,000 of jewelry and antique items from a southwest Santa Rosa residence last month.

Sgt. Eric Litchfield said the suspects sold the stolen items to several pawnshops and jewelry stores including one owned by the burglary victim.

"The suspects were apparently unaware they were selling the victim his own stolen property," Litchfield said.

The burglary occurred on Oct. 27 and police served search warrants at six Santa Rosa homes Monday. The suspects and the stolen property were found at four of the residences, Litchfield said.

Police recovered most of the stolen property that included jewelry, furniture, paintings, cameras, sterling silver and bronze items and other antique items. Other items were found at pawnshops, Litchfield said.

Tony Cuellar, 30; Brandan Rhoades, 28; Karissa Amante, 30; and Sophia Martinez, 25, all of Santa Rosa, were arrested for burglary, possession of stolen property and conspiracy to commit a crime, Litchfield said.

Heather Tressel, 22, of Santa Rosa, was arrested for possession of stolen property and conspiracy to commit a crime and police are looking for Malee Molly Samphan, 26, Litchfield said.

Police are still looking for several antique ivory statues similar to Confucius in appearance, a 3-foot long antique sword with "Solingen" on the blade, a steel scabbard and two Knights of Columbus/Masonic antique swords with Masonic symbols engraved on ivory handles.

Anyone with information about the stolen property still outstanding is asked to call Detective Shacklett at (707) 543-3575.

Art Hostage comments:

Thankfully, these morons have brains the size of Olive's.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Stolen Art Watch, Art Hostage Passes Masters Degree !!

Art Hostage has passed !!

Got the results at noon today.

Interesting to note, during the Queens Speech to Parliament, Her Majesty broke from the script to announce Art Hostage had passed his Masters Degree, a roar went up from both sides of the House.

So, now its Art Hostage M.A. B.A. (Hons) A.H.E.C.

A very humbling experience.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Stolen Art Watch, Lowry Theft Arrests, A Pyrrhic Victory !!

Lowry theft suspect being led away !!

Four people have been arrested by police investigating the theft of five LS Lowry paintings worth more than £1m in Greater Manchester.
Officers raided several addresses in Tameside after receiving information from the public.

A 31-year-old man from Hyde, along with three men from Denton, aged 36, 22 and 24, were arrested on suspicion of robbery, police said.

The paintings were stolen from a house in Cheadle Hulme in May.

Art collector Ivan Aird was tied up and his wife and two-year-old daughter threatened during the robbery at their home.

Five artworks were taken, together with Lowry's palette and brushes.

So unique

The most valuable works are the Viaduct, at about £700,000 and The Tanker Entering The Tyne, which is worth between £500,000 and £600,000.

The others are pencil sketches - The Bridge at Ringley and The Street Market.

The value of the palette and paintbrushes is not known, because they are said to be so unique.

Det Con Chris Barnes said: "We have had a number of people come forward, both as a result of the media appeals and the recent Crimewatch appeal.

"A £70,000 reward remains available to anyone who provides information leading to the recovery and return of these paintings."

The raids were carried out in Audenshaw, Denton, Houghton Green, Hyde and Gorton.

Art Hostage comments:

A Pyrrhic victory and we still have the stolen Lowry artworks outstanding.

Police could, and should have devoted more resources to this case from the get go.

Then, subsequent victims would not have been robbed.

Still, better late than never, or are these arrests just window dressing ??

It is Police who have jumped the gun for quick headlines, rather than wait and recover the stolen artworks before arresting these men.

Police already knew the identies of these men, but public pressure has allowed the Lowry paintings to remain outstanding, or have they been recovered already ??

Right, who is going to be the first to become a "Sewer Rat" ??

The offer of a reduced sentence is the lure to get one or more of these accused men to reveal the whereabouts of the stolen Lowry paintings.

To the current handler of the stolen Lowry paintings, before Police storm your house/work/shop and recover the paintings, hand them back by placing them in a certain place and then telephoning the police anonymously.

If you get caught in possession of the stolen Lowry's some-time soon, don't say you weren't warned !!

The Lowry's are a millstone around your neck and will disrupt any other business dealings.

Will you lose money, of course, but better lose money on the Lowry's than lose the whole lot.

Oh, to be continued..............


Expect some good news from Yorkshire Police/London Met Police about the spate of art thefts this summer.

I cannot say too much, but hopefully the Newby table and Doncaster silver cups will be recovered before Yorkshire Police arrest the gangs they are watching !!

Not forgetting the De Morgan, tick tock, etc which the current handlers are contemplating handing back !!

Guys, get rid of these stolen artworks before you get arrested, placed, then fetch and collect by Police.

The clock is ticking and before long, Yorkshire Police and the London Met Police will be told to

"Round them up, and Collar the lot" to quote Churchill.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Stolen Art Watch, Bread and Butter Art Theft under £1 Million, Who Cares !!

Breaking news: Reward for information re £40,000 burglary

A REWARD is being offered following a burglary in Bishop Burton between 6.05pm on Wednesday 10 October and 15 minutes past midnight on Thursday 11 October 2007.
The burglary resulted in antiques and jewellery worth around £40,000 being stolen.

The reward, of up to £3,000 is being issued by the owner for information leading to the arrest and conviction of suspects.

Detective Inspector Gavin Orsborne Humberside Police said "This burglary resulted in a substantial amount of property being stolen; the property was valuable and had sentimental value for the family involved.

"The reward is being offered to encourage people to come forward with information which will hopefully lead to the arrest and conviction of suspect(s).

"The property is distinctive, and it is believed the suspects will be trying to sell it on and we are asking for the public, antiques dealers and specialist shops to be on the look out for the property."

Art Hostage comments:

Perhaps these antiques were sold in Hull and from there they were sold to a South Coast antiques dealer with long-standing links to Hull ?

I am sure these items will be floating around the trade in London and the South East.

Arrests and convictions for £3,000, worth becoming a Sewer Rat, you decide !!

Monday, October 29, 2007

Stolen Art Watch, Lowry Theft TV Plea or Smoke-Screen to Protect Informant !!

Art raid terror on Crimewatch

Brian Lashley

A FAMILY'S terrifying ordeal during a raid on their home, in which Lowry paintings worth more than £1.5m were stolen, is to be shown on Crimewatch tonight.

Louise Aird, 40, opened the door of her home in Cheadle Hulme, Stockport, to what she thought was the postman - but up to four knife-wielding raiders stormed in.

Her husband, Ivan, 41, was tied up, and the men threatened to kill their two-year-old daughter, Sabrina.

The gang escaped with a haul of valuable paintings, including one titled The Viaduct worth more than £700,000 and another called the Tanker Entering The Tyne said to be worth up to £600,000.

Mr Aird is a leading collector of works by Salford painter Lowry, who had been a family friend. A reconstruction of the robbery on May 3 is to be shown on the BBC 1programme Crimewatch at 9pm.

Det Con Carolann Eaton, from Greater Manchester Police's major incident team, said: "This was a despicable crime, and the whole family have been left traumatised by what has happened to them.

"The stolen paintings are extremely valuable but also hold a great deal of sentimental value for Mr Aird, as Mr Lowry was a close family friend.

"It would be almost impossible for these distinctive paintings to be sold on, as they would be immediately recognised as stolen.

"I would appeal to anyone who has information on the people responsible, or the current location of the stolen paintings, to contact us."

Anyone with information should contact the major incident room on 0161 856 2482, or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.

Art Hostage comments:

Police may already know the identities of the robbers, but are using Crimewatch to try and smoke out further evidence and deflect the blame away from the informant, who has already given the names ?

Knowing who committed this dreadful robbery does not recover the stolen Lowry's !!

How far is Manchester from Glasgow ?

I will update once it has aired !!

Friday, October 26, 2007

Stolen Art Watch, Bread and Butter Bulgarian Booty !!


19:41 Thu 25 Oct 2007

A large channel for trafficking of antiques to Western Europe and the USA had been closed down by the department for fighting organised crime of the Interior Ministry, said.

Confiscated cultural-historical heritage was estimated to be worth over 10 million leva, though the precise amount was not yet clear.

Arrested were 13 people, 25 searches had been carried out in the regions of Pazardjik, Vratsa, Montana, Vidin and Rouse. Among the arrested was the organiser of the group, a well-known businessman from Pazardjik, whose name has been withheld.

Confiscated had been over 15 000 antique coins and over 400 antique vases, made from metal, ceramic and glass. Uncovered have been large amounts of fragments of marble tiles, capitals from columns and sculptures, antique swords, knives, peaks of arrows and spears, ornaments of horse-trappings, parts of warrior cart-drivers, a large collection of antique jewelry and decorative elements from an antique shrine.

The organiser of the group was said to own an impressive amount of real estate and a hotel centre. Much of which was suspected to have been bought with money from trafficking antiques.

Deputy Chief Prosecutor Kamen Sitnilski said prosecuting the accused would be a challenge, but the first accusation would be the possession of stolen goods in large quantities.

The operation took place October 22 - 24, and from the 13 who had been arrested, four were still under arrest. For the others no grounds for longer arrest were found.

As for the origin of the antiques, so far it was not clear whether they had recently been excavated or were stolen.

Spanish Police Arrest Bulgarian National on Drug Charges

26 October 2007, Friday

Spanish police said on Friday it arrested a Bulgarian national, who was part of an international drug smuggling ring.

Three men were arrested in total, including a 40-year-old Bulgaria, a Turkish national and a Spaniard, as well as seizing 23 kilograms of heroin in a raid in the southern city of Seville.

The ring was under surveillance for nearly a year and police believe the Bulgarian national was smuggling the drugs into the country.

The police seized the drugs in a secret compartment of a car and was to be sold throughout the Andalucia region of Spain.

Art Hostage comments:

A domino affect !!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Stolen Art Watch, Will Stolen Botero Sculptures Breed Like Rabbits !!

Latin American Sale
7 PM, Nov. 21, and 10 AM, Nov., 22, 2000

Lot 21, "Caballo," bronze sculpture, by Fernando Botero, 1985, above.

There are several works by Fernando Botero (b. 1932), the best of which is Lot 21, a very lovely bronze sculpture of a saddled horse with a lustrous dark patina, which was executed in 1985 in an edition of six. The lot has an estimate of $250,000 to $350,000. It sold for $259,000.

Thieves in Italy get 7 statues by Colombian artist Botero worth more than $5 million
2007-10-23 17:49:48 -

[MSN] Thieves in Italy get 7 statues by Colombian artist Botero worth more than ¤3 million (US$5 million) . The statues were stolen from Pietrasanta, a Tuscan town where Botero spends part of the year. The works depict figures including a ballerina, a sparrow and a male nude, all designed in the rounded style of Botero's art, an official with the Carabinieri paramilitary police said.

ROME (AP) - Burglars broke into a foundry in Tuscany over the weekend and made off with seven bronze statues by Colombian artist Fernando Botero, officials said Tuesday.

The works are worth ¤3.5 million (US$5 million) and depict figures including a ballerina, a sparrow and a male nude, all designed in the rounded style of Botero's art, an official with the Carabinieri paramilitary police said.

The statues were stolen from Pietrasanta, a Tuscan town where Botero spends part of the year, said Lt. Angelo Murgia.

Sometime during the weekend, burglars forced the foundry's back door and then broke into a metal cupboard that housed the statues, each 50-70 centimeters (20-27 inches) tall and weighing 25-30 kilograms (55-66 pounds).

The works had been insured, Murgia said.

Barbara Lazzeri, the wife of one of the foundry's owners, said an alarm at the factory had not been activated, as it was often accidentally set off by animals, and that the break-in was discovered Monday when the business reopened after the weekend.

«There are pieces by other artists here, but they took only those by Botero,» Lazzeri told The Associated Press by telephone from the foundry.

She and Murgia said the burglars seemed to be after Botero works, indicating the theft may have been commissioned.

Murgia said two other Botero statues, a rooster and a Colombian idol, were stolen from the artist's home and studio in Pietrasanta in 2006.

Botero, who was in New York, was told about the new theft on Monday.

«He was quite angry and stopped production of all his works,» Lazzeri said. «He said he will continue to work in Pietrasanta only if the foundries are made secure.

Famed for his works on Colombian life, including images of the 40-year-old conflict in the South American country, Botero created controversy in recent years with drawings and paintings depicting abuse of prisoners by U.S. troops at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.

Art Hostage comments

It is interesting to note that the real money that will be made out of this theft will be the copies made from these casts.

Also, notice how the alarm was turned off, because of animals, wonder if this will affect the insurance payout ?

At this early stage, it appears to be another case of an "Inside Job"

If these Botero sculptures are not recovered quickly, then expect to see copies, taken from these originals, appearing of the market over the next few years.
Wonder if in the future the same foundries will be making the copies, if they loose the contract with Botero ??

What we need here is someone who can quietly arrange a recovery, perhaps in the presence of legal representatives, what's the Italian for Marshal Ronald, Calum Jones, Robert Graham, and John Doyle ?

Any suggestions on who may meet this requirement, I know, Serpico !!!!!

What is the English translation of the name Serpico ??

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Stolen Art Watch, The World Just Got Smaller, If you are a Stolen Artwork !!

Precious stolen map turns up in Sydney

Philip Cornford
October 20, 2007

AFTER a journey around the world, a stolen 1482 map based on the work of the ancient astronomer and geographer Ptolemy has been recovered in a Sydney art gallery.

The map, known as the Ulm Ptolemy World Map, illustrates what was then known about the world and is described as "perhaps the most famous and highly sought after of 15th-century world maps, and certainly the most decorative".

Valued at $160,000, the Ptolemy map was stolen from Spain's National Library and made its way to the US, where it was bought on the internet by Simon Dewez, owner of the Gowrie Galleries in Bondi Junction.

"I had absolutely no idea it was stolen," Mr Dewez said yesterday. "I thought it was a fantastic buy, a rare opportunity."

The map has been recovered and is with the Australian Federal Police, who sent photographs to the National Library in Madrid. "They've confirmed it's their missing map," a spokesman said. "The gallery surrendered it willingly."

Spain will apply to Australia to have the map returned. A legal dispute over ownership is not expected.

Mr Dewez declined to name the dealer from whom he bought the map but described him as a reputable dealer who had refunded him.

Mr Dewez, whose gallery has a 120-page catalogue offering rare maps for sale, bought the map on behalf of a client as a superannuation investment.

He bought a second-edition Ulm Ptolemy World Map, printed in different colours in 1486, five years ago from a private European collector. "It's equivalent to buying a rare edition," Mr Dewez said. "The Ptolemy map is not only important, but it's beautiful as well."

The stolen map was one of 12 maps and other documents cut from a 16th-century edition of Ptolemy's Geographia, based on the original work by Claudius Ptolemy in the second century.

Best known as an astronomer, Ptolemy (AD 85-165) compiled Geographia from existing records and by detailing the geographic co-ordinates of 8000 locations. He was the first to visualise a great southern land mass uniting Africa with Asia and enclosing the modern Indian Ocean.

The maps he drew were hard to copy and were lost over time, but Geographia was the most influential record of the known world for the next 16 centuries.

World maps based it were produced in 1295, 1397, 1401 and 1427, but because Ptolemy believed the world to be smaller than it actually was, they all contained distortions, a problem not solved until the end of the 18th century.

In 1482 in the German city of Ulm, Leinhart Holle produced the Ptolemy World Map, including Scandinavia and more recent information. It was a woodcut by the engraver Johanne Schnitzer.

A second map stolen from the Spanish National Library was recovered by the FBI from a New York collector about the same time police became aware the Ptolemy World Map had found its way to Australia.

The loss of national treasures caused outrage and led to the resignation of the library's director.

The thief is believed to be a researcher who had access to the closed section of the library that contained the documents. He left Spain before the thefts were discovered in August.

Thief returns documents stolen from Spain's National Library

Madrid - A man who has confessed to stealing valuable ancient documents from Spain's National Library has handed over some of them to an Argentine judge, press reports said Thursday. Cesar Gomez Rivero, 60, a Spanish citizen of Uruguayan origin and resident in Argentina, returned eight of the 19 documents he is believed to have stolen during visits to the library between 2004 and 2007.

Two of the most valuable ones among the stolen documents, centuries-old copies of world maps by 2nd-century Greek geographer Ptolemy, have allegedly been located in the United States and Australia.

Gomez took the documents because of his "passion for history and art," his lawyer was quoted as saying.

But when the man noticed that his attempts to sell some of the documents got his allies in trouble, he repented, the lawyer added.

The judge in Buenos Aires left Gomez free on bail and ordered him to report to the court regularly.

Gomez is believed to have cut the documents from books with a knife he smuggled into the library. The scandal broke in August, prompting the resignation of library director Rosa Regas.

Art Hostage comments:

In a relatively short time, these stolen maps went around the world.

It shows just how small and accessible the globe has become.

I wonder if Philip Cornford has caught the Art Sleuth bug ?

Searching for stolen art is like Vegemite, you either love it or hate it !!

The International Art and Antiques trade has not covered itself in glory, yet again, another example of distasteful practice !!

Friday, October 12, 2007

Stolen Art Watch, Bush Arrested in Possession of Stolen Art !!

For the latest on Da Vinci Madonna and Boston Vermeer, see our sister blog, above and below.

Stolen Work of art discovered in the Bush

AN ARTIST has spoken of his shock after one of his paintings worth £4,000 was found dumped in bushes in Primrose Hill.

A Glimpse Of Spring by Dutch artist Jacques Tange was recently discovered in the undergrowth and police are trying to trace the owner.

The painter, who won the artist of the year title in the Netherlands in 2006, told the Ham&High: "I've no clue about what happened - but I think it was probably stolen from somewhere in London.

"It's quite a big painting and it's possible the thief got tired carrying it and hid it so he could come and collect it later in a car or on a bike.

"But someone else found it before he could come back."

The painting, measuring about three feet square, shows a group of women sitting on giant ladders among a series of tower blocks.

Mr Tange added: "I painted it in 1994. It is about people losing contact with nature in the big city. The women are looking over the buildings to see that spring is coming.

"I don't know why the owner has not come forward already. Perhaps they are on holiday. If the painting is not claimed then maybe it could be auctioned at Sotheby's and the money given to charity."

The Art Loss Register, which assists victims of art crime recover stolen items, is leading the search for the painting's owner.

They have not disclosed some details about the painting including the location it was found due to fears criminals may falsely claim it as their own.

If you are the owner of the painting, contact the Art Loss Register on 020-7841 5780.

Art Hostage comments:

On the subject of Bushes, apparently before the invasion of Iraq Saddam Hussein issued an order that all Arab women shave their pubic hair.

Politicians in Washington D.C. thought this was taking the Anti-Bush campaign too far !!

Seriously though, there is always more behind these so-called chance discoveries, I'll do some checking.

For the Latest on the Da Vinci Madonna recovery and the Boston art theft see our other blog, Stolen Vermeer, link below:

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Stolen Art Watch, Heartless Thieves Steal Blind Elderly Widow's Memories !!

Antiques worth thousands of pounds stolen from blind widow

A blind elderly widow has been left devastated after thieves stole tens of thousands of pounds worth of rare antiques and paintings from her home, police said yesterday.

A £10,000 grandfather clock and five paintings, including two watercolours by Scottish Colourist Samuel Peploe's son, were among the haul of around 20 items taken in the raid on the 89-year-old's terraced house in Edinburgh. Police believe the housebreakers probably targeted the house in Minto Street, Newington, deliberately, striking in daylight and possibly on more than one occasion in the hope that passers-by would mistake them for removal men as they entered the property through the back garden.

The frail victim - who had recently moved out of her three-storey home because it was too big for her to manage alone - is distraught at the loss of the heirlooms which have been in her family for generations.

Her son discovered the break-in on Monday when he checked on the property, which police believe was raided within the last week, although it could have been up to 11 days earlier.

Shocked neighbours in the attractive street, which is lined with large townhouses, many of which are B&Bs, said they hadn't noticed anything suspicious. Police described the raid as "unusual" and officers are appealing to anyone who thinks they saw anything odd to contact them as soon as possible.

DC Ben Leathes, of Lothian and Borders Police, said: "A lot of the items taken have great sentimental value and family history attached to them, and the lady is understandably distressed.

"The amount of items and the size of items taken indicates that they the thieves had transport, either a van or bigger, and they may have potentially visited twice.

"I would imagine it was carried out during the day because it would have drawn more attention to them if they came at night, going though the back garden. They would also need light to see as they manoeuvred the furniture out.

"It would not be unusual to see a removal van in the area. There's a good chance that someone saw something. The area is filled with B&Bs, so there are a lot of people coming and going."

Referring to the five-figure sum which police believe to be the total worth of the stolen goods, he added: "It is certainly unusual. In most housebreakings you are unfortunate if you lose £1000 of stuff, and it is mostly electrical goods which are easy to resell and difficult to trace which are taken.

"The items taken here are very unusual, and the high value is very unusual."

The most valuable items taken were two distinctive dark mahogany chairs, one with a scene from Charles Dickens' Oliver Twist carved into its back, the other featuring a Rob Roy-like scene, thought to be worth more than £10,000.

Both the Denis Peploe paintings were sea views, while the three other pictures were gilt-framed oil paintings of country scenes, including one of a cornfield, marked Fraser.

The 7ft 19th century grandfather clock had a silver face with black Roman numerals. A 19th century mantlepiece clock which was also stolen featured a foot-tall black eagle on its top. Two silver teapots, a 3ft revolving bookcase and three wooden tables were taken as well.

One neighbour, who did not want to be named, said: "I haven't heard anything about this, but it is quite concerning."

A police search and recovery team will be contacting antique dealers and registering the items as stolen at auction houses and on websites.

Anyone with any information should contact Lothian and Borders Police on 0131 311 3131, or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

Art Hostage comments:

The -------- Boys were back in town !!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Stolen Art Watch, Bread and Butter Art Theft !!

Antiques taken in city home raid

A large number of antiques worth tens of thousands of pounds have been stolen from a house in Edinburgh.

It is believed the house in the Minto Street area was broken into some time after 20 September.

Among the items stolen were paintings, furniture, and other assorted antiques, worth an estimated five-figure sum.

Because of the large number of goods stolen, it is thought a van was use and the thieves may have made more than one visit to the house.

Police want anyone who noticed any suspicious activity in the area recently to contact them.

A police spokesman said: "A large quantity of items worth an estimated five-figure sum have been stolen from a house in Minto Street.

"As well as the obvious cash value of the goods, they also have a great deal of sentimental value to the owner, who is understandably distressed at what has happened.

"We think that a van may have been used to transport the goods, so we want anyone who has noticed any suspicious activity in the area over the past couple of weeks to contact us immediately."

Art Hostage comments:

More to this than meets the eye, valuation is refreshingly vague !!

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Stolen Art Watch, Miserly Policing on the Cheap Responsible for this and other Robberies !!

Ex-Coronation Street star's wife robbed

LONDON (Reuters) - The wife of former "Coronation Street" star Ken Morley was tied up by robbers during a burglary at their home, police said on Sunday.

Three men, wearing balaclavas and dark clothing, forced their way into the couple's home in Clayton-le-Woods in Lancashire on Friday evening.

Morley, 64, who became famous for his role as bumbling shop manager Reg Holdsworth in the long-running soap, was not home at the time, but the robbers bound his wife Susan's wrists and ankles using cable ties.

They demanded money, jewellery and the whereabouts of the safe before locking her in a room and searching the house. Police said the men, who were described as in their 30s with Irish accents, escaped with some jewellery.

Susan Morley told the People newspaper that the men had said they would torture her and her pet dogs.

"I was threatened with a crowbar and it was horrendous -- utterly and totally horrendous," she said. "They threatened to kill me and were shouting in my face."

She later managed to loosen the ties and went to a neighbour's house to raise the alarm.

Ken Morley, who has also starred in the comedy "'Allo 'Allo" and the sitcom "Hardware", said it was the second time their home had been raided in recent years.

"It is a sign of the times that a woman is no longer safe, even in her own home," he told the People. "It's like an epidemic of crime is sweeping the country and there is just no deterrent."

Police said the robbery might be linked to a similar burglary in the county last month.

"This address has not been specifically targeted because it is the home of Mr and Mrs Morley," said Detective Inspector Neil Haworth.

See also:

Art Hostage comments:

This robbery need not have happened.

Earlier this year, this criminal gang robbed an Art Dealer of multi-million pound Lowry paintings by holding a knife to the throat of a two year old girl during the robbery, see below:

Such was the outrage at this act, an Underworld informant offered Police a deal, whereby the names of the robbers would be given and their next celebrity target revealed.

The fee was £100,000, to be paid once the robbers were caught and convicted.

Police refused, saying they would only pay small rewards at their own discretion.

The Underworld informant backed off and left Police to investigate on their merits.

Then some time later this happened, see below:

And this:

Again the Underworld informant offered Police the names for a fee, to paid after Police had arrested the gang.

Again Police refused and this latest robbery of a TV celebrity's wife is the result, as are a number of other robberies that have not made the media recently.

"When you pay peanuts, you get Monkey's"

The Police are meant to protect the public, even if it means they have to pay for the vital information that will prevent armed robberies like these that have occurred since the first offer to give the names and details of the robbers for a fee.

Police may indeed arrest this gang in the future, that gives no comfort to those who have been robbed unnecessarily since the first offence.

Any Police success in arresting this gang will be viewed as a Pyrrhic victory.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Stolen Art Watch, Global Stolen Art Trafficking, Fast as an E-Mail !!

Stolen priceless maps seized by police in Australia

5 October 2007

MADRID -AFP - Police in Australia have recovered two maps of the world by the ancient Greek astronomer and geographer Ptolemy, above, which were stolen from Spain's national library, Spanish media reported Friday.

The maps, printed in 1482, were found in Sydney at the home of an Australian antiques dealer who had bought them at an auction in London, El Mundo newspaper said on its website.

It said police believed the maps were stolen by a Spanish national of Uruguayan origin living in Argentina, Cesar Gomez Rivero, 60.

The two maps, which were stolen on August 21, came from two identical works by Ptolemy, who lived from 83 to 161 AD, and were printed by Leinhart Holle in 1482 in what is now the German city of Ulm.

The names of the Australian dealer and the London auction house were not revealed.

The maps were found by Australian police, who alerted their Spanish counterparts, El Mundo said.

Art Hostage comments:

I wonder if, during questioning, this Australian Antiques dealer was asked if he knew anything about the Cavalier theft earlier this year?

Perhaps as some kind of plea deal, the Cavalier may be recovered ?

Australian Authorities can act in a pro-active manner see below:

Apply this forward thinking to investigating the Cavalier theft for a quick recovery.

The stolen map story shows us that global stolen art trafficking is as fast as an e-mail.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Stolen Art Watch, Greed, Revenge, Art Theft's not the Solution !!

Artless blackmailers rewarded with a sting

Two men have been arrested in Athens on suspicion of blackmailing an art gallery owner over the return of three paintings that were stolen from her in March, police said yesterday.

Officers arrested a 50-year-old man, suspected of stealing the paintings from the gallery in the northern suburb of Kifissia, and a 65-year-old art dealer who contacted the gallery owner and offered to return the paintings for a finder’s fee of 10,000 euros.

The paintings, “Cyclist Wearing a Tie” by Alekos Fasianos and two works by Dimitris Mitaras titled “The Girl,” were worth some 60,000 euros in total.

The gallery owner informed the police and a sting operation was mounted. The three paintings have been returned to the gallery and police found another 17 paintings in the possession of the two suspects.

Theft of paintings worth £40,000

Two paintings by a leading Welsh artist which are together worth £40,000 have been stolen from a private art collection in the south of England.

Ed Povey's paintings, Minotaur and Hermaphrodite, above, and Rehearsal, below, were in storage in London and were about to be rehung in a Surrey mansion.

The artist, from Bangor in Gwynedd, said he believed the works may have been stolen to order.
Metropolitan Police are investigating and auction houses have been alerted.

Mr Povey said the two stolen paintings were being kept in a storage facility in North Acton, London while the mansion where they were destined to be hung was refurbished.

The art collector, who does not want to be identified, said this: "Is a sad loss of two special paintings.

"Both are quality art and I really hope that the thief appreciates just how good they are."

"We are not certain when they were taken, but the police were alerted on Tuesday, after the discovery was made," said Mr Povey.

"A piece of 17th Century French furniture was also taken."

Minotaur and Hermaphrodite, painted in 1996, is valued at £16,500 and was purchased by the owner in 1999. The second painting to be taken, Rehearsal, dates from 2003 and was commissioned by its owner. It is valued at £24,000.

"It's a great shame. Minotaur and Hermaphrodite was a great favourite of the owner and was due to be hung in his personal study in the mansion," said Mr Povey, who divides his time between north Wales and America.

He said the two paintings were included in more than 40 of his works in the large private art collection in Surrey, and they appeared to have been specifically targeted.

"Unfortunately, if they went into a private collection - there's very little chance of finding them," he said.

Mr Povey, who rose to fame in the 1970s for the many multi-storey murals which he painted in Wales, England and the Middle East, said the Metropolitan Police were investigating.

He also said the art department of Interpol had opened a file on the case, and Sotheby's, Christie's and Bonhams were watching in the hope of stopping the art thieves if they attempted to auction the paintings.

Art Hostage comments:

First of all, the Greek guys arrested were caught because of their sheer greed.

Instead of selling the stolen paintings within the underworld for around 2-3,000 euros, they got greedy and tried to sell them back to the owner for 10,000 euros.

Second, the theft from London, North Acton Storage Unit,

Remember the Moronic second hand car dealer who tried to sell the three paintings back to the insurers, and never collected the £50,000 reward offered because of his own stupidity?

Back story, below, read all three to get up to speed

Well, how about if this person and his colleague have started their revenge by organising this art theft, with others to follow?

How about as a sick follow up, this revengful pair organise a burglary at the Surrey Mansion where these paintings were destined for?

There is another 40 pictures, plus other fine art to steal.

These thieves have information about the destination, address of the Surrey mansion, perhaps because of an inside job, they now, thanks to this news report know there is another 40 valuable paintings sitting there waiting to be targeted.

However, the thieves may already know of the art in the Surrey mansion because of another type of inside job.

Shame Police will just issue a crime number and move on.

To be continued, watch this space !!