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Sunday, June 17, 2007

Stealing High Value Art, Even Morons are Getting in on the Act !!

I stole this statue, will you value it for me?

An "idiotic" thief who stole a 17th century porcelain figurine of national importance was caught out when he wrote to a ceramics expert asking for a valuation.

Jason Cochlin, 32, was part of a gang who took the figure of Ignis - the personification of fire - and 11 others from the Allen Gallery in Alton, Hampshire, in 2002.

The 1679 tin-glazed figure, described in court as a piece of Britain's heritage, was worth up to £160,000.

Cochlin, who has not named his fellow thieves, was found guilty of conspiracy to steal the pieces at Winchester Crown Court and jailed for 12 months.

His barrister Robert Pawson said Cochlin, from Southampton, had been forced to take part in the conspiracy because he owed a debt to someone.

He said Cochlin had used a loan of £20,000 to buy Ignis back from the criminal who had it, and told the court the married father of three could not name him otherwise he would be shot.

"Mr Cochlin was idiotic enough to write to a world expert on English earthenware, Jonathan Horne, giving the insignia of the figure and asking for a valuation," said Mr Pawson.

Mr Horne knew the treasure - made in London as a commission for a client interested in alchemy and science - was stolen. He contacted the museum and they called the police.

After he was caught, Cochlin handed the undamaged figure, which he had kept wrapped in towels inside a shoebox, back to police.

Art Hostage comments:

A catalogue of Moronic behaviour.

First this moron sends a letter to have the stolen figure valued.

Then he gets arrested and questioned about this.

The Police still only have a photo.

This Moron could of said he was asked if he wanted to buy this figure and was getting it valued for that purpose, furthermore he was going to get it check out to see if was stolen before he bought it.

The Police would only be able to bail this man, then if they do not recover the actual figure they would be forced to take no further action.

No, not this moron, he only goes and gives the Police the actual figure, and instead of a reward he gets charged and now convicted and serving 12 months.

However, this all seems too convenient, how about this moron approached the Police via an art recovery expert, then during the negotiations to return the figure the moron tries to get it valued, so to work out what kind of reward he wants.

The Moron hands back the figure thinking he will rewarded, only to find out rewards are bogus because of the 2002 Proceeds of Crime Act, then the Moron is arrested, charged, and now convicted.#

Moral of this tale is:

"If you have possession of, or access to, High Value Stolen Art and want to be rewarded for the recovery, forget it, it is illegal, unlawful, and impossible to collect rewards, unless you are an Ex cop, promise not to share the reward and registered as an informant with Police.
It must be said however, Charlie Hill is an ex-cop, but is forbidden to collect rewards under threat of prosecution because he had the audacity to pay a reward of £100,000 to get back the Titian stolen From the Marquis of Bath's home Longleat

However, if you want to hand back High Value Stolen Art from a moral/public duty perspective without reward, credit or otherwise, then just contact Art Hostage with location and we will pass this on to authorities and we will not receive reward, credit, or otherwise.

We here at Art Hostage are not holding our breath so to speak and realise it is only Morons who end up getting caught while the serious stolen art handlers act with impunity.

A complete re-think is needed to combat art theft, until then Art will be held Art Hostage.

Although this may raise a smile it does prove that High Value Art Theft has become mainstream with Morons like this complete thicko getting involved.

There will always be the highly sophisticated art criminals who cover their tracks and never get caught because of a lack of investigation by Police, but the emergence of everyday moronic petty crooks turning their hands to art theft will only increase the likelihood of further art thefts in the future.

If this is the only way art crooks can be caught then it does not say much about the competence of law enforcement.

Imagine if this moron had been caught with £160,000 of fake DVD's, or drugs, or other contraband, his sentence would far exceed the 12 months he received for this offence.

High value Art theft is the crime of choice for criminals of all shades not least because the penalties are nothing more than a slap on the wrist, and the returns are huge for little risk.

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