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Thursday, April 19, 2007



April 18, 2007 -- ANNE Bass - the Manhattan socialite ex-wife of billionaire investor Sid Bass - and her longtime artist boyfriend, Julian Lethbridge, were the victims of a terrifying home invasion at her sprawling country estate in Connecticut this week.

In what the state cops are calling one of the most jarring crimes to hit ultrarich Litchfield County in years, three armed thugs drove onto the 1,000-acre Bass compound in Kent on Monday morning. They strong-armed their way into the main residence, jumped Bass and Lethbridge, and robbed them and ransacked the house, which was loaded with priceless antiques and artwork.

Then, the Kent Tribune reports, "the victims may have been subject to some kind of injection or forced to ingest a foreign substance" to disable them. The attackers fled in a 2006 Jeep Grand Cherokee.

Bass and Lethbridge called 911 and "met the paramedics outside, they were not allowed in the house. It was a very strange call," according to Jay Lewin, a Litchfield resident who writes on his Web site that he received an account of an emergency radio transmission after the break-in.

"They were taken to New Milford Hospital where a state decontamination team was set up in the parking lot," Lewin writes. "The M.D. who was called to the hospital allegedly asked that there be no more radio transmissions about the problem." The victims were released a short time later.

State Police Lt. J. Paul Vance told Page Six, "It's a mystery at the moment. This is an exclusive area and I can't remember anything like this ever happening before." He said it hasn't been determined what was stolen from the house. Bass - a generous patron of the ballet who reaped more than $200 million in her divorce 20 years ago - refused to comment yesterday.

Lethbridge, 60, whose new show of abstract art opened last month at the Paula Cooper Gallery in Chelsea, told us, "I prefer not to talk about it."

But the break-in has shaken area residents, who are among the wealthiest in the tristate area and are used to a low crime rate. Among Bass' ultra-wealthy Litchfield County neighbors are Conan O'Brien, Mia Farrow, Henry Kissinger, Diane von Furstenburg and Henry Kravis.

Art Hostage comments:

This case should be watched closely by FBI Agent Robert Wittman.

If it emerges that some high value art has been taken then I hope the FBI Art Crime Team will be bought in to "Nip this in the bud" before there are any more high profile violent thefts involving wealthy middle aged citizens.

Every so often there is a high value art theft from private wealthy individuals and if not stamped on then other follow until authorities really clamp down on the art thieves.

In a world of the Bush "Pre-emption" doctrine, then reacting after the first high value art theft is the natural course of action.

The Old Reactive Doctrine, although attractive for governments, has become the policy of "Yesterday"

Crooks will be crooks will be crooks, making high value art theft from citizens, public buildings, and Museums less attractive will not eradicate crime, it will, however, give comfort, protection, security and continued free access to the worlds most adored art.

In this technological age, crime against the person should, by right, be restricted to cyber and electronic crime, rather than the up close and personal violations of the past.

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