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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.