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Thursday, December 31, 2009

Stolen Art Watch, Degas, Curtain Falls on 2009 !!!

Degas painting stolen from French museum

AFP - Thieves stole a valuable painting by 19th century artist Edgar Degas overnight from a French museum, police said Thursday.

The colourful image of singers performing on a theatre stage was missing when staff opened up the Cantini Museum in the southern port city of Marseille, prosecutor Jacques Dallest said.

The national museums service said the picture was a pastel work titled "The Chorus", worth 800,000 euros (1.14 million dollars), correcting an estimate given by local police that it was worth some 30 million euros.

Loaned by the Orsay museum in Paris for an exhibition featuring some 20 works by Degas, it measures 32 centimetres by 27 (about 13 inches by 10). Dallest said it had been unscrewed from the wall.

"As far as I know there was no break-in," Dallest said, adding that investigators suspected an intruder, a visitor to the exhibition or an inside job.

City councillor Maurice Di Nocera, responsible for organising major events in Marseille, called the theft "a disaster for the museum."

The museum was closed Thursday while police pursued their investigations, including examining film from security cameras.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Stolen Art Watch, Johnson Family, Police Chief's View !!!!

In the final part of a series of articles to mark the retirement of Chief Constable Tim Brain, the top officer looks back on two of his proudest achievements.

THE notorious Johnson family were brought to justice as a result of one of Dr Brain's first moves when he took the top job in Gloucestershire.

He created dedicated units to tackle organised and serious crime and it eventually led to the collapse of the family crime gangs from Cheltenham.

"That enabled us to tackle the serious and organised criminals – the middle managers of crime – the people who have bases in our community but who can operate at cross border level.

"It enabled us to chip away for a long time at the Johnsons. Operation Haul is quite rightly seen as a catalyst – an iconic investigation but there had been a lot of taking out of bricks of the wall of that organised crime group for several years to that point.

"What we were able to do with Operation Haul – because they had been operating across a lot of Southern England – was to work with other forces to achieve a comprehensive interdiction and to really smash open or smash up the core of the group.

"That was an iconic moment – it was the culmination of what we had been building for several years."

Sadly the hole left by the Johnsons will probably soon be filled, said the Chief.

"There will always be the opportunity for those individuals and those groups to exist because nature abhors a vacuum – people will come in behind it and that's why it's really important that we keep up our guard."

In 2005/6, Dr Brain fought off proposals to merge the Gloucestershire force into a big regional constabulary.

"The reason we were able to avoid being amalgamated was because we were able to demonstrate that we had what many forces don't have – this specialist investigative capacity to take on serious and organised criminals.

"We invested in that – other people have caught up, but we invested early as a small force and that was critical that we could demonstrate that we could tackle these groups.

"We have talked about the Johnsons but there are others who are the local gang masters, the local drug bosses, and we've taken them out like PJ Maguire – people who thought they were untouchable found themselves in prison."

Dr Brain says the search for millions of pounds of antiques stolen by the Johnsons from stately homes will continue.

Recovering the Johnsons' tangible assets is a straightforward process, said Dr Brain, but the stolen loot is a different matter. Some of this may be in a hole in the ground – alternatively it's been moved on through the system of fences."

Another major investigation involved former Gloucester grammar school pupil Sajid Badat who had been plotting a terrorist attack.

"The most important thing to feel about that is that was a professional investigation of high national importance that was successfully managed by ourselves and by the national counter terrorist units – it was a very successful operation.

"I think it said so much for our community based policing and the support we received from our community that we were able as a city centre Gloucester community to come through that stronger. People were shocked and took a long time to reconcile themselves to what was happening, but that's the nature of terrorism."

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Stolen Art Watch, Pink Panthers Due For Release !!!!!

A Belgrade court has jailed three Serb members of the so-called Pink Panther gang for a record-breaking jewel robbery in 2004, Beta news agency reports.

The gang has been blamed for robberies around the globe.

The court on Friday found the three guilty of stealing almost 22 million euros (about $A35 million) of jewellery in Tokyo on March 5, 2004, the report said.

The stash included a necklace worth more than 18.7 million euros (about $A30 million) and has not been recovered.

Aleksandar Radulovic was sentenced to six years and nine months in prison, Djordje Rasovic to six years and three months, while Snezana Panajotovic was given two years and 10 months.

They were ordered to return the 125-carat necklace and other jewellery or jointly pay 3.5 billion yen ($A43.9 million) in compensation.

It was the second trial for the defendants, who had been acquitted by Serbia's Supreme Court on appeal.

Judge Milena Rasic said Radulovic and Rasovic used force during the robbery while Panajotovic held a guard in front of the Tokyo store.

The three were arrested in Belgrade in 2005 on an international warrant. A trial was held in Serbia following an agreement with Japan. A fourth suspect, a British woman, was not on trial in Belgrade.

The international police agency Interpol set up a Pink Panther cell in July 2007 to coordinate the hunt for the gang and there have been a number of arrests.

In June, police in Montenegro arrested another member of the gang, which is believed to number about 60 people from the former Yugoslavia. Two other suspects were arrested in Paris in May.

The group got its Pink Panther nickname from the British police after finding a diamond ring hidden in a jar of face cream, as in the 1963 Pink Panther movie starring Peter Sellers.

Other Pink Panther robberies are believed to have been carried out in the United States, Japan, United Arab Emirates, Monaco, France, Germany and Switzerland. They have been blamed for robberies involving goods worth 110 million euros ($A178 million) during the past decade.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Stolen Art Watch, For Stolen Art, Head to London and Brighton !!!!

Leeds friend's favour for 'an old-style villain'

A PENSIONER agreed to cash a "dodgy" cheque for a friend despite knowing he was an "old style villain" with a shady record.
Brian Kenny, 70, denied money laundering even though he admitted he put a cheque for £10,000 through his own bank account for pal Graham Harkin, who gave him a £200 gift for the favour.

He was found guilty at Leeds Crown Courtand will be sentenced in February.

It later emerged the money had come from the sale of a rare antique "Voysey" table worth £120,000, which had been stolen from a Leeds stately home.

Harkin, 54, is currently serving a three-year sentence for his part in the burglary at Lotherton Hall in late 2006.

At his trial this week, married Kenny, a self-confessed dabbler in buying and selling antiques and bric-a-brac, denied knowing or even suspecting that the money had come from criminal activity.

The court heard Kenny had agreed to pay the £10,000 cheque, made out in his name, into his bank account as a favour for Harkin, whom he had known for about 10 years.

A few days later he withdrew the full amount and arranged to meet Harkin at a pub in Cleckheaton, where he handed the cash over in a jiffy bag.

Harkin then gave Kenny £200, the jury was told, and told him to have a drink.

Prosecutor Georgina Coade said: "He (Kenny) knew, or at least would have suspected, that that money would have represented the proceeds of criminal conduct –very basically, the money was dodgy."

The court heard the stolen table was later sold by a man claiming to be "Brian from up North" to an antique dealer based in the south of England.

The court was told that there was no suggestion Kenny was the man who had sold the table, and it was likely to be Graham Harkin, posing as Kenny, who did the deed.

However the real Kenny had earlier told police Harkin was an "old style villain" but someone he trusted because "his word was his bond".

Speaking from the witness box, the retired builder, who lives with his wife in Cleckheaton, said: "The cheque was in my name as he (Harkin) had explained he did not have a bank account himself.

"It were a cheque. It were going through my account. I really didn't think that he would do that to me.

"I never saw him involved in criminal activity in the time I have known him apart from him being arrested for stealing the table. He came across as likeable. His word was his bond."

Asked why he had referred to Harkin as an "old style villain" if not in a criminal context, he said: "I could just as well have said he was a dodgy character.
"I suppose like anybody he has little things as his employment is concerned, like a lot of people on building sites they have little ways of doing things. I didn't know him as dishonest. I didn't think of it that way.

"He asked me to cash a cheque, I said I would do it, without even thinking about it.

"But I didn't think Graham Harkin would have asked me in a million years to cash a cheque that would have led police to my door. I trusted his ways.

"There is no way I would put a cheque for stolen property through my account.

"I just wouldn't do it."

He claimed Harkin had later phoned him from prison asking him to trace the name and address of the antique dealer who had issued the cheque.

The court heard that Kenny had earlier admitted to police he knew "a lot of criminal people" and was frightened of some of them.

Kenny, a retired builder, denied one charge of converting criminal property

Stolen Barnstaple spoons are found in London

A collection of silver spoons stolen from Barnstaple museum in the summer have been recovered from a business premises in London.

The 10 historic spoons, worth approximately £20,000, were taken from a display cabinet at the Museum of Barnstaple and North Devon on July 31.

The silver and silver gilt antiques were crafted in the town in the 16th and 17th centuries and were donated to the museum by Keith Abraham.

WPC Shaunaugh Cobb at Barnstaple Police Station said it was a good example of positive police work and how they were in process of ensuring the spoons were returned to Barnstaple.

"This crime was particularly upsetting for the staff and volunteers at the museum, now the spoons can be returned and enjoyed again by members of the public," she said.

"The investigation involved a lot of work with outside agencies in the arts and antiques world, the Metropolitan Police and co-operation from the museum."

After the theft North Devon Council, the insurers and North Devon Theatres Trust offered a reward of up to £2,000 for information leading to the arrest and trial of anyone responsible.

Police have said the rare spoons were found at a business premises in London, but no further details are available at this time as inquiries are continuing.

Alison mills, curator at the museum, is delighted with the outcome:

"This is a great result for the museum and we had given up hope of ever seeing the spoons again," she said.

"They were generously given to the museum by Keith Abraham, and we are really looking forward to putting the spoons back on display so local people can enjoy them once more as he intended.

"It was lucky for us that the spoons are so easily recognisable, and we are grateful to the sharp eyes of the antiques trade.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Stolen Art Watch, Da Vinci Madonna Treated Like Mona Lisa !!

The Leonardo da Vinci masterpiece has gone back on display to the public in Edinburgh

A painting by Leonardo da Vinci has gone back on display in Scotland six years after it was stolen.

The Madonna with the Yardwinder was taken from the Duke of Buccleuch's home at Drumlanrig Castle in Dumfriesshire in August 2003.

It was recovered in Glasgow in 2007 and has now been loaned to the National Gallery of Scotland in Edinburgh where it has been put back on display.

Eight men have been charged in connection with the theft.

The artwork has an estimated value of £30m and is the only Leonardo painting in Scotland.

Painted in oils on a small panel, the work depicts the Madonna with the infant Jesus and a cross-shaped, wooden yarnwinder.

Other artists

Experts believe it was created between 1500 and 1510 for Florimond Robertet, a trusted minister and diplomat of the King of France, who had close ties to Italy.

Leonardo had a poor record when it came to completing his works and the extent of his direct involvement in the painting is the subject of much debate.

Art specialists have said the overall design, the figures and the rocks in the foreground are his but the background landscape was probably added or completed by another artist.

The painting was featured in an exhibition at the National Gallery back in 1992.

A spokeswoman said the gallery was delighted the painting could go back on display.
Art Hostage Comments:
The Da Vinci Madonna is Scotland's own Mona Lisa and accordingly it is only fitting to be displayed in the National Gallery

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Stolen Art Watch,The Johnsons, Slow Motion Attempted Recovery !!!!

Johnson family back in court

DETAILS of "extraordinarily rare" antiques stolen from stately homes by a notorious criminal family were revealed at a court hearing today.

The Johnson clan were jailed for up to 11 years each last year for their roles in stealing from stately homes in Oxfordshire, Wiltshire and Berkshire.

The Crown Prosecution Service is trying to recover millions of pounds the family gained in the year-long spree of burglaries.

A confiscation hearing at Reading Crown Court was told items stolen in the burglaries included “the finest barometer ever made” and “extraordinarily rare” clocks.

The gang, including Ricky Johnson, 55, his sons Richard and Albi and a nephew, plotted the high-value raids while based at a static caravan park in Evesham, Worcestershire.

Ricky Johnson was sentenced to eight years, while his son Richard "Chad" Johnson, 34, and nephew Daniel O'Loughlin, 33, were jailed for 11 years each.

Michael Nicholls, 30, the partner of Ricky Johnson's daughter Faye, was given 10 years, while the youngest gang member, 27-year-old Albi Johnson, was jailed for nine years.

All were found guilty of conspiracy to commit burglary between April 8, 2005 and October 13, 2006 following a month-long trial at Reading Crown Court.

The hearing was adjourned part-heard and will not resume until April 26.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Stolen Art Watch, Sculptures Stolen, But Will They Be Melted ????

Bronze statues stolen from Wentworth Estate home

December 15, 2009

FOUR valuable bronze statues were stolen from the garden of a property on the Wentworth Estate in Virginia Water.

The statues, of varying size and shape, were taken by four men travelling in a white Citroen van, Surrey Police said.

The theft took place on Saturday (December 12) between 9am and 9.45am.

Detective Constable Simon Egan said: “These statues are extremely distinguishable pieces of art and of very high value.

“These items are very large and would have taken some time to remove from the property.

“I am sure someone will have seen something suspicious even if they had not realised it at the time.

“It is also likely that someone will come across these items, either through someone they know or in other circumstances.”

Anyone with any information on the thefts is asked to contact Surrey Police on 0845 125 2222, quoting reference RM/09/7981, or alternatively call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111

Monday, December 14, 2009

Notorious Cheltenham crime gang in court

Monday, December 14, 2009, 17:31

A legal bid was launched today to recover some of the millions of pounds gained by a notorious criminal family in a string of raids on stately homes.

The group, all part of the same notorious traveller family, were jailed for up to 11 years each in January 2008 for their roles in the crimes, which included Britain’s biggest burglary.

They stole antiques worth millions of pounds from wealthy homes in Wiltshire, Oxfordshire, Berkshire and Worcestershire in a year-long spree.

They appeared at Reading Crown Court today for the beginning of a week-long confiscation hearing that could see them having to pay back some of the money.

Simon Burns, prosecuting, described the Johnsons as a “professional, criminal family team”, and added that “they were all operating as a joint team, and benefiting as a joint team”.

He said they each had different roles to play in the raids but had joint control, and told the court: “They didn’t want outsiders.”

Their targets included Ramsbury Manor, the Wiltshire mansion of property tycoon Harry Hyams, where they stole property worth millions in a raid described later as the UK’s biggest private house burglary.

Other victims included Formula One motor racing advertising tycoon Paddy McNally and Lord Lieutenant of Berkshire Sir Philip Wroughton.

When police arrested the gang, they estimated the total haul was worth £30 million.

Richard “Chad” Johnson, 34, and Daniel O’Loughlin, 33, were both jailed for 11 years, Michael Nicholls, 30, was given 10 years, Albi Johnson, 27, was jailed for nine years and 55-year-old Ricky Johnson was given eight years.

Ricky Johnson is the father of Chad and Albi and O’Loughlin is his nephew. Nicholls was the partner of his daughter, Faye. The family were based at a static caravan park in Evesham, Worcestershire, where they plotted the high-value raids.

They were all found guilty of conspiracy to commit burglary between April 8 2005 and October 13 2006 following a month-long trial at Reading Crown Court.

A valuations expert is due to give evidence to the hearing on Wednesday, the court was told.

Other members of the Johnson family watched proceedings from the public gallery this afternoon, shouting messages of support to their relatives as they entered the dock.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Operation Haul gang due at Crown Court

December 11, 2009

Five people jailed as part of Operation Haul – a crackdown on a gang fleecing country estates and who targeted cashpoints in West Berkshire – are due in Reading Crown Court next week for a financial confiscation hearing.

The hearing before His Honour Judge Christopher Critchlow is due to start on Monday and is listed to last for a week.

Gloucestershire men Danny O’Loughlin, Ricky Johnson, Richard ‘Chad’ Johnson, Michael Nicholls and Albie Johnson were part of a group who were jailed for a total of nearly 50 years for their part in a series of country house burglaries in the south of England and metal and ATM thefts.

They were convicted of conspiracy to burgle at Reading Crown Court on February 11, 2008.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Stolen Art Watch, Drouot Auction House, Foxes Guarding the Hen House !!!!!

Preliminary charges have been filed against nine employees of Paris' respected Drouot auction house after police found stolen art, including a painting by 19th-century realist master Gustave Courbet, prosecutors said Monday

Preliminary charges have been filed against nine employees of Paris' respected Drouot auction house after police found stolen art, including a painting by 19th-century realist master Gustave Courbet, prosecutors said Monday.

An auctioneer and eight commission agents were given preliminary charges, including "organized theft," the prosecutor's office said.

Three others detained last week in the police raids on Drouot, its warehouses and homes of employees were released with no charges filed against them.

When the bust was announced last week, there was initial confusion about which Courbet work had been recovered. The painting - stolen several years ago from a collection whose owner had recently died - was not clearly identified, and the heir had confused it with another work, an official close to the inquiry said. He spoke on condition of anonymity because the case is ongoing.

Police initially identified the recovered Courbet work as "La Vague" (The Wave), worth euro900,000 ($1.3 million), but officials said Monday it was actually "Paysage marin sous un ciel d'orage" (Marine Landscape Under a Stormy Sky), worth about euro100,000.

The stolen Courbet - one of several paintings by the convention-smashing realist master with a stormy ocean theme - was found at the home of one of the commission agents being investigated. Other pieces recovered in the sweep included artworks, frames and furniture.

Under French law, preliminary charges give the judge more time to investigate and determine whether to send the case to trial. Three commission agents were jailed in the case, with the prosecutor's office accusing them of deep involvement in thefts dating back to 2001.

The auctioneer was released pending the investigation with the stipulation that he stop hosting sales.

Drouot is a large auction house in a sprawling 19th-century building in central Paris. It auctions fine art and antiquities, as well as such objects as pieces of the Eiffel Tower and mime Marcel Marceau's top hat.

Associated Press Writer Jean-Pierre Verges contributed to this report

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Stolen Art Watch, Italy, Parmalat Tanzi Masterpieces Discovered, Paris, Dalrymple Dares To "Wave"

Mark Dalrymple Orders 12 detained in Paris over stolen painting
By JEAN-PIERRE VERGES (AP) – 2 days ago

PARIS — French police detained 12 people in a sweep of a respected Paris auction house Wednesday after finding a stolen Courbet painting worth euro900,000 ($1.3 million) at an employee's house.

Police raids on the Hotel Drouot, its warehouses and homes of employees uncovered other small artworks believed to have been stolen, a police official said.

Twelve people — an auctioneer, eight commission agents and three of their family members — were detained and questioned Wednesday by investigators from the agency for fighting art trafficking. Two were later released, the official said. The official was not authorized to be publicly named because the investigation is ongoing.

The 2004 theft of the Courbet painting, "The Wave," prompted a formal judicial inquiry.

Police found it in the house of one of the commission agents, the official said. No other details, including about how and where the painting was stolen, were immediately available.

The stolen Courbet was one of several paintings by the convention-smashing, 19th-century realist master with a stormy ocean theme.

The Hotel Drouot is a large auction house in a sprawling 19th-century building in central Paris. It auctions fine art and antiquities, as well as such objects as pieces of the Eiffel Tower and mime Marcel Marceau's top hat.

Italian police seize £90m art stash from Parmalat founder

Italian police seized a stash of art masterpieces worth more than £90 million from Calisto Tanzi, the disgraced founder of the Parmalat business empire which collapsed owing millions to small investors.

Among the 19 masterpieces were paintings by some of the world's most famous artists, including Van Gogh, Picasso, Monet, Cezanne, Modigliani, Manet and Degas.

They allegedly belonged to the multi-millionaire businessman Calisto Tanzi, the founder of the Parmalat dairy empire, which collapsed in 2003 with billions of pounds of debt.

Italian courts have ruled that Tanzi bore the brunt of responsibility for the corporate catastrophe, in which many investors lost their life savings. He has been convicted of market-rigging.

Italian tax police found the artworks stashed in the basements and attics of three apartments in Parma, in northern Italy.

Mr Tanzi had reportedly told Guardia di Finanza police and tax investigators as recently as Monday, during a lengthy questioning, that he owned no such assets.

They included a portrait of a ballerina by Degas, The Cliffs at Pourville by Monet, still lifes by Gauguin and Van Gogh, a 1944 Picasso, a water colour by Cezanne and a pastel by Pizarro.

A Russian billionaire was reportedly in negotiations to buy the Monet for £9 million.

Among the other paintings, the Picasso is estimated to be worth a minimum of £6 million. Portrait of a Lady by Giuseppe De Nittis is said to worth more than £700,000.

A chief prosecutor in Parma, Gerardo Laguardia, said many of the paintings were being offered for sale, but did not specify whether they had been advertised on the open market.

If confirmed to be owned by Mr Tanzi, the art works could go some way to satisfying creditors' demands in the wake of Europe's biggest bankruptcy.

Among the hardest hit victims of the collapse, which shocked Italy's business establishment, were the thousands of ordinary Italians who were convinced that buying bonds in the company was a safe investment.

The crisis erupted in December 2003, when Parmalat said a bank account holding four billion euros (£3.6 billion) held by a Cayman Islands unit did not exist, forcing management to seek bankruptcy protection and triggering a criminal fraud probe.

The food giant collapsed shortly afterwards with a 14 billion euro hole in its accounts.

Parmalat emerged from bankruptcy in 2005, after being stripped of its loss-making foreign units, and has refocused on its core dairy business.

Mr Tanzi and other former executives were charged with market rigging, false accounting and misleading Italy's stock market regulator.

ROME — Italian tax police said Saturday that they had seized works by Van Gogh, Picasso, Cezanne and other giants of art in a crackdown on assets hidden by the disgraced founder of the collapsed dairy company Parmalat.

Authorities estimated the 19 masterpieces stashed away in attics and basements were valued at some euro100 million ($150 million).

Parma Prosecutor Gerardo Laguardia said that, based on wiretapped phone conversations, officials believed at least one of the paintings hidden by Calisto Tanzi was about to be sold.

"We got lucky. We learned that there were negotiations under way to sell one of the paintings" and raid three apartments in the area of Parma, near Parmalat's headquarters, Laguardia said in an interview on Italy's Sky TG24 TV. He didn't identify the painting.

Bologna-based tax Police Col. Piero Iovino told The Associated Press by telephone that investigators believed the entire batch of paintings, watercolors and drawings were up to be sold. The prospective buyer was a Russian, possibly living in Italy, Iovino said.

No arrests were announced as part of the art seizure.

Tax police said Parma prosecutors are opening a probe into alleged concealing of assets in Parmalat's bankruptcy case.

Parmalat, the dairy conglomerate known for its long shelf-life milk grew from a small dairy distributor in Parma, into a diversified, multinational food company by 1990, but collapsed in 2003 under euro14 billion in debt — eight times what it had previously acknowledged — in what remains Europe's largest corporate bankruptcy. Many small investors who lost their life savings were among some 40,000 defrauded bondholders.

Italian courts have already ruled that Tanzi bore the brunt of responsibility for the collapse. Tanzi was convicted by a Milan court last year of market-rigging and other charges in one of multiple probes. He is currently on trial for alleged fraudulent bankruptcy.

Tanzi has blamed the banks for the labyrinth of deals that helped swell the company to a global empire with operations in more than 30 countries, but also led to the company's collapse.

For years after the collapse, Tanzi was rumored to have had a "hidden treasure" somewhere. On Nov. 29, a state TV show alleged that Tanzi had hidden a collection of artwork to try to shelter himself from the effects of looming collapse of Parmalat.

"I don't have any secret cache" of paintings, Tanzi told reporters the next day on the sidelines of his current trial in Parma, repeating his ongoing dismissal of reports that he had a so-called "little treasure" of assets squirreled away.

A lawyer who represents Tanzi and serves as his spokesman didn't answer his cell phone Saturday.

Police showed some of the paintings to journalists near Parmalat's headquarters Saturday.

After the TV show, "we tightened the screws" and zeroed in on Tanzi son-in-law Stefano Strini, Iovino said. "He told us that the paintings were Tanzi's" and led police to the apartments, he said.

As the corporate failure loomed, Tanzi moved to safeguard his wealth by hiding "property whose value endures through time," Iovino said.

Among the masterpieces was a pencil on paper portrait of a ballerina by Degas, two Van Goghs, including a depiction of a trunk of a willow tree and a still life, a watercolor by Cezanne and a pencil-work by Modigliani.

Tax police official Massimo said some of the paintings were carefully wrapped for protection, but that other paintings, including a Picasso, were left open in the store room.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Stolen Art Watch, Summer Knocking Leads To Winter Burgling !!!!

Falmouth antique raids total £50,000
Thieves have targeted expensive and valuable heirlooms in a series of burglaries in and around Falmouth stealing antiques and other items worth tens of thousands of pounds.

Police say that high value homes have been hit in seven incidents over a four-week period.

The total value for the stolen items and damage for all the crimes is worth over £50,000.

Sergeant Dave O’Neill said: “There have been burglaries of antique property stolen over the past few weeks, spread around Falmouth in high value dwellings.

“This type of burglary is a rare crime for us, and it has impacted on us over the last two to three weeks. Investigations are underway, both through our forensic teams and other officers.”

Borders Burglary Nets 35 Thousand

AROUND £35,000-worth of antiques, collectables and jewellery has been stolen from a farmhouse near Coldstream.
The theft occured at Bartlehill Farm House between 5.30am and 11.30pm on Monday when the homeowners were away all day.

A police spokesman said the thieves broke in through a ground-floor window and he believed a duvet was used to transport the goods.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Stolen Art Watch, Walnut Treasure Haul Not Cracked up To Much !!!

He's no 'Thomas Crown'; Thief sentenced to 15 years for stealing truckload of antiques

WEST PALM BEACH - — WEST PALM BEACH — When William Sanders, 51, ripped off an unmarked trailer from a Hampton Inn parking lot in 2007, he was high on cocaine likely looking for a quick something to pawn.

What Sanders unwittingly stole though, was what detectives estimated as a million-dollar trove of English antiques, some dating back to the 15th century: burl walnut furniture; tortoise shell tea boxes; ivory and mother-of-pearl business card holders — the stuff of Rockefellers filched for cocaine rock.

"Judge, this is not the Thomas Crown affair ... for all he knew it had yard equipment in it," argued Sanders' defense attorney, Evelyn Ziegler, at Sanders' sentencing today.

Sanders asked he be sentenced to five years in prison following his guilty plea to grand theft over $100,000.

A prosecutor asked that Sanders, a 12-time convicted felon, be sentenced to the maximum: 30 years in prison.

She argued that for months Sanders did not come forward admitting the theft, meanwhile, pieces like a burl walnut dresser valued at $57,000 floated in a canal where Sanders had dumped them.

"I didn't even know what this stuff was," Sanders told Circuit Judge John Kastrenakes. "I had no clue the value that it had."

Kastrenakes asked Sanders how much cash for crack did he get in the end?

"$600 or $700, he answered.

The theft of the trailer from the Hampton Inn set Palm Beach County Sheriff's detectives Jim Brown and Walt Robinson in motion. The FBI had to be called in on the five-month investigation, because things like the tortoise shell items were specially licensed and monitored by federal endangered species laws.

Initially, the detectives said they thought it may well be a Thomas Crown-like affair, a targeted, high-end robbery.

Rather, they ended up tracking down ivory and mother-of-pearl and tortoise shell-inlaid items at a flea market, a barbershop and canals way in western Palm Beach County.

"Although they have to have a certain value, some of them are priceless," Det. Brown told the judge Monday. "It's a shame to find them floating in canal water for months with no chance of salvage."

Antiques dealers Andrew and Kelly Vogel had brought the merchandise to sell at an area show. The Vogels parked their unmarked trailer in front of the Hampton Inn's security cameras for extra protection — and awoke to find it gone.

Detectives Brown and Robinson would help the Vogels recover a good number of the items — $388,000 worth, says Brown.

But not without help from Sanders himself.

Months later, after the detectives tracked him down, Sanders confessed and took them on a tour of the places he had dumped the antiques. Sanders was remorseful and cooperative, argued his defense attorney Ziegler, and for that he deserved a break.

But would the judge agree?

The likelihood of the Vogels recovering money from Sanders was "minuscule" the judge said, and Sanders did deserve the max.

But remorse and confessing guilt and helping recoup some of Vogel's losses must be worth something.

So, 15 years in prison for Sanders, the judge ruled.

Vogel was not present at today's sentencing. He was in Kentucky, on his way to another antiques show.

Contacted by phone, he said all told he is left stunned why Sanders — a convicted felon, imprisoned at least six times before — was out, allowed to commit another crime. Sanders' criminal history includes a capital sexual battery upon a child.

"How many is too many? At one point does someone like this be taken off the street for good?" Vogel said. "It's a revolving door where criminals appear over and over again.

"And the revolving door remains open."
Art Hostage Comments:
More suitable Robert ???

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Stolen Art Watch, Pink Panther, Political Pawn, Poor Man, You Decide !!!!

Alleged Pink Panthers thief denies guilt at start of Montenegro trial


A newspaper says a suspected member of the Pink Panthers group of jewel thieves has pleaded not guilty at the start of his trial in Montenegro.

Vladimir Lekic was arrested in June on an Interpol warrant. He is charged with taking part in a robbery in Frankfurt in December 2003, when watches worth about C1 million ($1.31 million) were stolen from a jewelry store.

The Saturday edition of the Vijesti daily quotes Lekic as telling the judges that "I did not steal anything." He reportedly said Friday that he was only passing through Germany at the time of the robbery.

The Pink Panthers are believed to be mainly from the Balkans. They are suspected of jewel thefts worth more than $150 million (C114.41 million) in Europe, Asia and the Persian Gulf.

Art Hostage Comments:

The Montenegrin government agreed earlier this year to put this man on trial as part of deal to gain entry to the EU.

As a result, Germany agreed to sponsor Montenegro in its application to join the EU.

There has been hundreds of millions invested in Montenegro already by the private sector and EU membership will bring further hundreds of millions in loans and EU investment.

Those who have already invested heavily in Montenegro have a vested interest in seeing Montenegro join the EU and if that means throwing a few pawns to the Wolves then so be it.

This show trial is mere window dressing to appease the EU, via Germany and one suspects Vladimir Lekic will be quietly released once the objective has been achieved.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Stolen Art Watch, Pink Panther's Return, Chaumet, Cluster Alert !!!

Armed gang rob famed Paris jewellers
The pair raided the Chaumet store on Place Vendome, the French capital's most glamorous shopping address.

Armed and masked raiders barged into the former jewellers of Napoleon and Queen Victoria in Paris on Friday and forced staff to hand over precious stones worth hundreds of thousands of euros.

The pair raided the Chaumet store on Place Vendome, the French capital's most glamorous shopping address, after stealing an employee's handbag containing a security card to open a service door, investigators said.

Once inside, they brandished guns and demanded that employees empty safes in the two century-old establishment, known as a supplier of jewels and precious stones to top fashion designers and the royal houses of Europe.

A police official, speaking on condition of anonymity, described the robbery as "extremely audacious", unusual in its execution and apparently well planned by a gang well informed about the store's layout and security system.

A Chaumet manager confirmed the theft and said it would take some time to estimate the total value of the stones taken from the storage area as a full inventory would have to be taken.

In recent years France has seen several high-profile robberies in luxury jewellery stores, many of them thought to be carried out by a gang of thieves from the former Yugoslavia known as the "Pink Panthers".

The last hold-up in Place Vendome was in May of this year, when Chaumet's near neighbour Chopard lost 15 million euros worth of stock to armed robbers.

Art Hostage Comments:

The Pink Panthers have returned, well nearly !!!

Cluster alert, ****** and ********as well as *************** are being targeted as I write.

Three more big hits before the end of the year !!!

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Stolen Art Watch, Yeats Back on Show !!!

Stolen Yeats painting is back in the spotlight

A FAMOUS painting whose location remained a mystery for 17 years after it was stolen in an audacious art heist was yesterday unveiled to the public.

It is the first time in almost four decades that the painting, a Jack Yeats work from 1915, 'Bachelor's Walk, In Memory', was placed on public display.

And, there will be an added frisson of excitement for visitors to the National Gallery of Ireland as they learn its dramatic history.

In 1990, the painting was one of five works of art valued at IR£1m -- two by Yeats and three attributed to the Flemish painter Van Dyck -- that were stolen from Dunsany Castle in Co Meath.

The late Lady Sheila Dunsany, a renowned art collector who died in 1999, was in the house at the time when the paintings were stolen from three reception rooms.

Those present in the house heard nothing as the raiders gained entry by forcing the bars of a window on the ground floor. It was reported that there was no alarm system in operation at the time.

Delighted National Gallery of Ireland director Raymond Keaveney explained that the last time the painting was seen in public was in 1971 when it adorned the gallery's centenary exhibition of Yeats' works.


It then vanished in 1990 before it was finally recovered in London in 2007 after it was spotted in a promotional publication for Sotheby's auction house. The other paintings also resurfaced in the 1990s.

Mr Keaveney yesterday said they were delighted to accept the important painting on loan, adding the identity of the current owner would remain a private matter.

"It is extraordinary how paintings that are stolen find their way back," he said.

The painting depicts an incident in 1914, when British soldiers opened fire killing four civilians as they returned from having halted a large party of Irish Volunteers transporting a supply of arms landed at Howth.

Yeats is believed to have visited the scene the following day where he witnessed a woman leaving flowers and immediately drew a sketch.

- Louise Hogan

Irish Independent

Art Hostage Comments:

Whoever decided to enter this stolen painting into a Sotheby's sale should go back to Stolen Art School 101.

To think this could have slipped through is naive to say the least.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Stolen Art Watch, Pebble Beach Art Heist, Messing With FBI Firepower, Fraught With Danger !!!

Pebble Beach art collectors seek FBI probe of Monterey County Sheriff's Office

Two men who say millions of dollars' worth of art were stolen from their rented Pebble Beach home have asked the FBI to investigate the Monterey County Sheriff's Office for possible "corruption, collusion and cronyism."

Nearly three weeks after a sheriff's spokesman declared that Angelo Benjamin Amadio and Dr. Ralph Kennaugh had become suspects in their own case, an attorney for the men is asking federal authorities to look into why the department's response to the theft was "to victimize the victim."

On Sept. 25, the men reported a break-in and theft of prints by Miro, Rembrandt and Matisse, as well as a painting by Jackson Pollock and a drawing by Vincent van Gogh. The collection has been valued at more than $27 million.

Days later, the men reported finding an extortion note that demanded $10 million and threatened to kill them.

The men's attorney, Vicki St. John, said she sent letters and documents by overnight courier Monday requesting meetings with the U.S. Attorney's Office in San Francisco and an FBI supervisor in Washington. Copies of the letters, which include a chronology of events in the case, were provided to The Herald.

The request centers on allegations that investigation of the case was stonewalled because of a previous personal grudge against Amadio by a volunteer at the department who is close to Sheriff Mike Kanalakis.

Sheriff's spokesman Cmdr. Mike Richards said he had not seen the documents late
Monday, but called the allegations "just ludicrous."

He said his department is still looking into whether the men have committed some sort of fraud, allegations he announced at an Oct. 6 news conference.

The letter maintains that information about the missing art was given to deputies on "five separate occasions" while Richards complained that the men were not cooperating and accused them of involvement in a "possible criminal enterprise."

"The truly ridiculous thing about these accusations," reads St. John's letter, "is that all the art was uninsured and owned for the past 10 to 30 years by my clients."

However, at least until now, the victims have shown very little documentation of the art's authenticity. And it appears that at least some of the loss may be covered under a renters' insurance policy of up to $500,000.

Richards has said that at the very least, his department might file misdemeanor charges for allegedly lying to a law enforcement officer.

"We are absolutely still investigating (them)," Richards said Monday.

But one month after the art was reported stolen, no charges have been filed.

Julia Reynolds can be reached at 831-648-1187 or

Art Hostage Comments:

"Speak softly and carry a big stick, you will go far"
(Roosevelt, Chicago 1903)

"He who hesitates is lost"

"You will catch more flies with honey than with vinegar"
We are now in the proverb stage, next stop arrest-ville !!!!!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Stolen Art Watch, Da Vinci Madonna Hearing set for Armistice Day, November 11th 2009 !!

Five men accused of demanding £4.25m for stolen da Vinci painting face trial

Five men accused of demanding £4.25 million for the safe return of a Leonardo da Vinci painting stolen from the Duke of Buccleuch will face trial next year.

The men are facing charges of trying to extort the money from the late duke, his son and the insurers of the work, known as Madonna with the Yarnwinder.

The artwork was found in Glasgow in 2007 — four years after it was stolen from Drumlanrig Castle, near Thornhill, in Dumfries and Galloway.

Marshall Ronald, 53, Robert Graham, 57, and John Doyle, 61, of Lancashire, and Callum Jones, 44, of Kilmalcolm, Renfrewshire and David Boyce, 52, of Airdrie, Lanarkshire, were excused attendance during a preliminary hearing today at the High Court in Glasgow.

Judge Lord Kinclaven set a trial for March 1 next year at the High Court in Edinburgh. It is expected that the case may last up to six weeks. There will be another preliminary hearing on November 11. (Armistice Day)

The painting, which has an estimated value of £30 million, has been in the Duke of Buccleuch’s family for two centuries.

Stolen Art Watch, Da Vinci Madonna Trial, March 2010 !!

Five men facing extortion charges over the recovery of the Leonardo da Vinci masterpiece Madonna with the Yarnwinder are to stand trial next year.

The artwork was found in Glasgow in 2007 - four years after it was stolen from Drumlanrig Castle, near Thornhill, in Dumfries and Galloway.

At the High Court in Glasgow, Lord Kinclaven set a trial for March 2010.

The case against the men - three from Lancashire and two from Scotland - is expected to last for up to six weeks.

Marshall Ronald, 53, Robert Graham, 57, John Doyle, 61, all from Lancashire, Callum Jones, 44, from Renfrewshire and David Boyce, 52, from Lanarkshire, were all excused attendance during Monday's hearing.

The painting, which has a value estimated at £30m, has been in the Duke of Buccleuch's family for two centuries.

Depicting the Madonna with the infant Jesus holding a cross-shaped yarnwinder, it is believed by experts to have been painted between 1500 and 1510.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Stolen Art Watch, Huge Art and Antiques Haul, Long Gone !!!!!

Valuable Antique silver, coins, ceramics, clocks and books stolen in burglary at The Park, Reedness Road, Swinefleet, East Yorkshire
POLICE are appealing for information in connection with a burglary that took place sometime between 0001hrs on Monday 22 May 2009 and 2359hrs on Tuesday September 1 2009.
Thieves approached a large detatched unoccupied property and stole a large amount of valuable antique items.

The items were listed as being in the property in January 2009 when the property was taken over by an Estate Agency.

Police would be keen to speak to anyone who may know the whereabouts of any of the property listed or anything about the incident.

Anyone who may have information is asked to contact Humberside Police tel 0845 60 60 222 quoting CI/1701453/2009


Details of item stolen

Coin Collections 1995 Queen Mother coin from Barbados – Present Portrait.
Coin Collections 1995 Queen Mother coin from Fiji – Clarence House
Coin Collections 1995 Queen Mother coin from Caymen Islands – Family Crest.
Coin Collections 1995 Queen Mother coin from Barbados – Engagement Portrait.
Coin Collections 1995 Queen Mother coin from Vanatu – End of Victorian Era.
Coin Collections 1895 Queen mother coin from Barbados – Engagement Portrait.
Coin Collections 1995 Queen Mother coin from Jamaica – Wedding Elizabeth and Phillip
Coin Collections 1885 Queen Mother coin from Western Samoa – Youth in Glamis Castle
Coin Collections 1995 – Queen Mother coin from Nauru – Bombed Buckingham Palace
Coin Collections 1995 Queen Mother coin from Gambia – year of the three kings.
Coin Collections 1995 Queen mother coin from Tokelau – Birth of Prince Charles
Coin Collections 1995 Queen Mother coin from Cook Islands – Queen Mother and daughters.
Coin Collections 1995 Queen Mother coin from Alderney – Lady of Century
Coin Collections 1995 Queen Mother coin from Guernsey – 95th Birthday
Coin Collections 1996 Queen mother coin from Cook Islands – St Pauls Cathedral
Coin Collections 1996 Queen Mother coin from Balize – Summer in Balmoral Castle
Coin Collections 1996 Queen Mother coin from Fiji – Move to Buckingham Palace
Coin Collections 1993 – Queen Mother coin from Bhutan - St Pauls Walden Bury
Coin Collections 1996 – Queen Mother coin from Vanuatu – Birth of Prince William
Coin Collections 1996 – Queen Mother coin from Soloman Islands – Coronation
Coin Collections Queen Mother coin from the Seychelles – Royal Wedding
Coin Collections 1997 – Queen Mother coin from Tuvalu – degree of doctor of music
Coin Collections 1997 – Queen Mother coin from Tuvalu – Opening parliament Camberra
Coin Collections 1997 – Queen Mother coin – Young Girl Guide
Coin Collections 1997 – Queen Mother coin from Niue Islands – Blitz on London
Coin Collections 1997 – Queen Mother coin from Tokelau – VE day collections
Coin Collections 1998 – Queen Mother coin from Kiribati – Windsor Castle
Coin Collections 1998 – Queen Mother coin from Malawi – Abdication
Coin Collections 1998 – Queen Mother coin from Niue Islands – Silver Wedding
Coin Collections 1988 - Queen Mother coin from Naura – Costin of May
Coin Collections 1998 – Queen Mother coin from Papa New Guinea – Prince Charles
Coin Collections 1998 – Queen Mother coin from Samoa – Shamrocks
Coin Collections 1998 Queen Mother coin from Fiji – Launch of QE2
Coin Collections 1998 Queen Mother coin from Kiribati – Prince Charles
Coin Collections 1999 Queen Mother coin from Juatin 50th Birthday
Coin Collections 2001 Queen Mary coin from Cook Islands – 100th Birthday

Coin Collections 2001 Queen Mother coin from Gibraler – Royal Family Portrait
Coin Collections 2001 – Queen Mother coin from Isle of Man – Coronation
Coin Collections Gold Russian Rouble
Coin Collections Gold Russian Rouble
Coin Collections 1881 ½ sovereign
Coin Collections 1892 ½ sovereign
Coin Collections 1820 ½ sovereign
Coin Collections 1787 shilling
Coin Collections 1787 shilling
Coin Collections 1787 Six Pence
Coin Collections 1787 Six Pence
Coin Collections 1872 ½ sovereign
Coin Collections 1824 sovereign
Coin Collections 1830 sovereign
Coin Collections 1838 sovereign
Coin Collections 1817 ½ sovereign
Coin Collections Gold Noble
Coin Collections 1891 Guinea
Coin Collections 11 Sovereigns
Coin Collections 1884 Guineas
Coin Collections 1763 Shilling
Coin Collections 1828 Sovereign
Coin Collections 1702 Guinea
Coin Collections 1828 ½ sovereign
Coin Collections 1404-1407 Edward iv
Coin Collections 1788 Spada Guinea
Coin Collections 1691 5 Guinea
Coin Collections 1738 2 Guinea
Coin Collections 1739 2 Guinea
Coin Collections 1763 Shilling
Coin Collections 2000 sovereign
Coin Collections ½ sovereign
Coin Collections 1699 5 Guinea
Coin Collections 2001 Sovereign
Coin Collections 2001 ½ sovereign
Coin Collections 5 pound coin
Coin Collections 2002 Sovereign proof set
Coin Collections 2002 gold proof set

Paintings and Framed Picture A framed hand tinted engraved map of Somerset dated 1645
Books – Antique – Rare Volumes "The Zoology of HMS Beagle" printed in 1994
Gentleman's Watch 18 Carat Gold Rolex Cellini Wristwatch
Gentleman's Watch (Misc) Stainless steel ebel chronograph wristwatch
Pottery Liverpool Herculaneum coffee tin.
Silver Candlesticks A pair of silver Baluster candlesticks
Silver Candlesticks A pair of silver candlesticks
Silver Inkwell Inkwell
Silver sauceboat A reproduction silver sauce boat with serpant handle.
Silver tea service An Edwardian silver three part tea service.
Silver Bowls A silver bowl raised over an openwork pedestal ornamented with flower heads.
Silver Basket A pair of Edwardian silver baskets Assayed Chester 1914.
Silver Trays A Georgian silver card tray by Joh Schofield. Assayed London 1740.

Antiques A framed hand tinted engraved map of Somerset dated 1645.
Antiques Volumes "The Zoology of HMS Beagle" printed in 1994
Antiques A Georgian silver salver by John Schofield. Assayed London 1740.
Antiques A Georgian silver coffee pot by William Grundy. Assayed London 1763.
Antiques An 81 piece Silver Windsor Pattern Cuttlery set.
Antiques A Victorian Silver Christening Cup.
Antiques A Georgian Silver Vinaigette
Antiques Four silver picture frames
Antiques A pair of modern silver wine coasters chased with vine borders. Assayed Sheffield.
Antiques A silver three branch Candelsbra
Antiques A Rockingham single spur cream jug. Unmarked pattern 1527.
Antiques A Rockingham cup and saucer. Unmarked pattern 1527.
Antiques A large Rockingham jug with transfer printed pattern 1527.
Antiques A Rockingham plate with Botanical subjects and a single butterfly. Red Griffin.
Antiques A Rockingham utilitarian bread and butter plate. Gilt and grey border. Unmarked.
Antiques A Rockingham desert plate. Puce griffin pattern 615.
Silver Teapot A Rockingham ozier moulded teacup. Saucer and plate are badly damaged.

Silver Teapot A Rockingham Utilitarian part tea set. Unmarked pattern 1224 (saucer, teapot, cream jug, two bread and butter plates)
Silver Tureens A Rockingham twin handled Tureen. Unmarked cover.
Silver Jugs A Brameld can ware jug. Ornamented with blue mouldings.
Silver Bottles A Rockingham miniature rose water sprinkler in the form of a watering can. Lilac ground and guilded. Unmarked.
Silver Cups A Rockingham cup and saucer.
Silver plates A Rockingham plate. Pattern 836.
Silver Trays A Rockingham card tray with rustic handle. Painted to the centre with a named view of 'Osbourne Hall'.
Rare books Large Ornithology volume by Henry Jones. Illustrated throughout.
Furniture Regency Mahogany four poster bed frame.
Clocks A short Georgian oak thirty hour longcase clock with white painted dial.
Carriage clock An eight day brass cased carriage clock with repeater chiming on a coiled gong with silver dial. Signed Clarke.
Carriage clock An eight day brass cased carriage clock by 'R.Holdt' with enamel dial and chiming on a bell.
Carriage clock An eight day brass carriage clock repeater chiming on a gong.

Clocks A Georgian eight day Japanned longcase clock.
Clocks A Georgian eight day Gloucestershire musical longcase clock by 'Collings of Sodbury' striking eight bells.
Clocks A Georgian eight day fusee table clock by Phillip Lloys with ebonised case and silver dial.
Clocks A Georgian mahogany eight day longcase clock by Louis Leplastrier of London with engraved silver dial.
Coin Collections George II two Guinea coin dated 1739.
Coin Collections George II shilling issued by the Earl of Northumberland dated 1763.
Coin Collections Elizabeth II sovereign dated 2000
Coin Collections Elizabeth II half sovereign dated 2000
Coin Collections William III five Guinea coin dated 1699
Coin Collections Elizabeth II sovereign dated 2001
Coin Collections Elizabeth II half sovereign dated 2001
Coin Collections Elizabeth II five pound coin
Coin Collections Elizabeth II four coin proof set dated 2002.
Coin Collections A golden jubilee coin proof set dated 2002.
Coin Collections A Victoria half sovereign dated 1872.
Coin Collections A George IV sovereign dated 1830.
Coin Collections William IV sovereign dated 1817.
Coin Collections George III half sovereign dated 1817.
Coin Collections Edward III hammered gold noble.
Coin Collections William and Mary Guinea dated 1691.
Coin Collections Eleven Victorian Gold sovereigns
Coin Collections Two Charles II Guineas dated 1864
Coin Collections George III Shillings dated 1763.
Coin Collections George IV sovereign dated 1829
Coin Collections Queen Anne Guinea dated 1702
Coin Collections George IV sovereign dated 1828
Coin Collections George III 'spade' guinea dated 1788
Coin Collections William and Mary five guinea piece dated 1691.
Coin Collections George II two Guinea coin dated 1738
Coin Collections Thirty Eight special edition Queen Mother proof coins. Kirbati, Cook Islands, Isle of Man and Gibraltar etc.
Coin Collections Two Russian Gold Roubles.
Coin Collections Victorian half sovereign dated 1891
Coin Collections Victorian half sovereign dated 1892
Coin Collections George IV sovereign dated 1820
Coin Collections George III four coins, two shillings and two six pence pieces.

Stamps Three embossed G.B Victoria Stamps.
Clocks White faced long case antique clock.
Clocks 8 day brass and silver faced carriage clock.
Clocks 8 day brass and white dial clock chimes on bel circs 1845.
Clocks 8 day brass and white repealer clock.
Clocks English Lantern clock circa 1760 by Thomas Moore.
Clocks 8 day long case clock circa 1730.
Clocks 8 day Gloucestershire long case clock by Collings.
Clocks 8 day bracket clock by Phillip Lloyd circa 1785.
Clocks Mahogany long case clock circa 1787.
Candlesticks Pair of Baluster Candlesticks
Candlesticks Baluster Candlestick
Inkwell Silver Inkwell
Sauce Boat Serpant Sauce Bowl

Silverware Kemp Brothers 3 piece circa 1908
Silver bowl Moilisfont Bowl
Silverware Pair Baskets – chosier 1914 – 38oz
Silverware 1785 walter 12oz John Schofield
Silverware Silver coffee pot – William Grundy
Silverware 81 piece Windsor pattern cutlery set
Silverware Silver christening cup
Silverware Naigmills silver property
Photo Frames A Picture frame
Silver Item Grape and Wine Coasters
Candle Snuffer Candle Snuffer
Silver Item George III oval bead mounted waller by Hapstead 1799.
Silver Jug George IV bedroom mounted cream jug by Barber 1824.
Silver Cup George III wine cup 1797
Bed Regency Mahogany four poster bed

Art An antique map of Somerset.
Art Zoology of Voyage of HMS Beadle
Watch Gentleman's Watch – Rolex Cellimi
Watch A lady's designer watch
Antiques Horculaneum coffee Can
Paintings Painting of Jenny Jones Folio Society.
Chinaware Single spur cream jug Pattern 1527.
Chinaware Single spur tea cup and saucer pattern 1527.
Chinaware Large Jug
Chinaware Butterfly plate – red griffin
Chinaware Bread and Butter plate
Chinaware Desert plate – red griffin
Chinaware Rustic Trio
Chinaware Incomplete 3 spur tea set
Chinaware Cream Tureen
Chinaware Cain ware jug – blue
Chinaware Rose pourer with lavender artwork
Chinaware Cup and saucer
Chinaware Early plate
Postage Stamps 3 embossed G9 stamps Victoria
Chinaware Dish 'Osburton Hall' Puce Griffin

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Stolen Art Watch, Stolen Jewellery Awaits Their Owners !!!

Police net largest ever stolen jewellery haul

THE largest haul of stolen jewellery recorded by Lothian and Borders Police has been recovered during a series of raids.

Police have begun the mammoth task of identifying the rightful owners of £150,000 worth of high-value rings, necklaces and ear-rings.

The collection, which contains many unique, unusual and antique pieces, is thought to have been stolen from houses around Edinburgh in the past two months.

One item alone, a small diamond set into a smooth silver ring, has been estimated to be worth more than £30,000. And another, a gemstone ring with an unusual fitting of two small silver monkeys, is thought to be a family heirloom.

Police said the jewellery, which also includes high value rings, necklaces and earrings, was recovered recently at a number of addresses in Edinburgh and Glasgow.

No-one has yet been charged in connection with the find.

Police are now looking to reunite the allegedly stolen items with their owners, and they are appealing for anyone who has had jewellery stolen over the past two months to come forward.

Sergeant David Brady, of the central intelligence team in Edinburgh, said he expected most of the pieces to be returned and appealed for anyone who has had jewellery stolen to come forward.

"This is a very unusual find, as we do often recover high-value items. I cannot remember the last time we recovered so much jewellery," he said.

"Many of the pieces appear to be family heirlooms or antiques, and there are some very striking items in the collection.

"Obviously we hope that will make it easier to return these items to their rightful owners.

"The highest value piece is a small diamond ring worth around £30,000, but we would expect many of the items to be of immense sentimental value to their owners.

"While we cannot say for sure where all of the items have come from, we believe they have been stolen from addresses in Edinburgh over the past two months and so anyone who has had jewellery stolen should get in touch."

He added that officers would be looking for proof of ownership, such as a photo of the item or a receipt, before they would return the jewellery.

Anyone who has been the victim of jewellery theft should contact Lothian and Borders Police on 0131-311 3131 with a description of the stolen item

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Stolen Art Watch, Michael David Underwood, Knocking on Heavens Door !!!

Voodoo painting "killed my husband" Brighton widow claims
The widow of a former antiques “knocker boy” said her husband had been “killed” by a voodoo painting.

Rachel Underwood said her husband Michael Underwood, who has died aged 66, will take the whereabouts of a work of art to the grave with him.

Known by friends as “Slippery Mickey" or her “limping Lovejoy” Mr Underwood gained notoriety after acquiring a William Orpen painting entitled “Girls on the Beach” from an elderly woman in the Isle of Man in 1993.

He paid just £300 for artwork which was believed to be worth £30,000 at the time.

Police officers tried in vain to recover the painting but Mr Underwood always refused to say what had happened to it.

In 2006 he went to prison for six months after refusing to reveal its whereabouts.

They claimed he had used underhand means to buy the painting but Mrs Underwood said her husband never knew the value of the painting when he bought it.

She said: “I saw it just once. It was filthy and dirty, you would have paid about £5 for it at a market.

“He never told me what happened to it but swore he would never hand it over to the police and that he would rather burn it.

“To the lady’s family it was valuable but to me that picture was voodoo. It killed him.”

She added: “He always said when he died the painting would die with him and now we’ll never know.”

Mr Underwood appeared in Court on numerous occasions accused of dishonestly obtaining goods and theft. In 1993 he was sent to prison for two years after being found guilty of stealing a Berlin plaque worth £3,000 from an elderly woman in Chelsea, London.

His wife said he retired from the “knocker boy” trade in 2001 but continued to be targeted by police.

Earlier this year he appeared in court charged with concealing criminal property and perjury, the charges were dropped after Mr Underwood fell seriously ill.

Mrs Underwood, who said her husband was a true Brighton character, said: “I can’t pretend he walked a straight line, but who does?

“They called him the limping Lovejoy from the Antiques Rogueshow.

“He laughed, he didn’t care what they said about him.

“He never deserved the bad publicity.”

She said: “Everyone loved him, they’d say here comes peg leg - hide your silver.

“He was a rogue but a lovable rogue.

“I first met him when I was 16 and he was the love of my life.

“He was a lovely man and a lovely father.”

Mr Underwood, of Copenhagen Court, Brighton Marina, died on Saturday September 26.

He is survived by his wife Rachel, children Claudia, Michael, Rachel and James, and seven grandchildren.

His funeral will be held on Friday.

Art Hostage Comments:

Michael David Underwood, labeled one of most notorious Brighton Knocker Boy's, leaves this mortal coil with his place in the folk law of Brighton firmly intact.

Love him or hate him, Mickey Underwood certainly left his mark.

Art Hostage thinks this song below sums up Michael David Underwood, who as I write, has offered St Peter a Monkey for the Pearly Gates.

Knocking on Heavens Door

The words are about redemption.

Mickey Underwood was always a big money-getter, and more importantly, he would always hand over the money to Rachel, (otherwise it would go on the first Favourite) to keep his family well fed, well clothed, and well away from the Brighton Antiques Trade, that was so much a part of Mickey's life.

Throughout the 70's, 80's and 90's when Brighton Knocker boys returned to Brighton they would pass the big house on the Brangwyn estate and comment on how successful Mickey Underwood was in earning big money.

Whilst it would be easy to take cheap shots at the Ambassador, as Mickey was called, Art Hostage recognises the cultural significance of the Brighton Knockers, especially Michael David Underwood, to the history of Brighton.

The brand new Mercedes estate reg: H1 MDU was a regular feature around Brighton in the early 90's and was the envy of many Brighton Knockers and dealers.
Art Hostage has been contacted with the news:
"Olive has the Orpen"
And by a different source saying the Orpen is to be stashed inside Mickey's false leg and cremated with him, thus giving Mickey the last laugh.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Stolen Art Watch, Pink Panthers, Jewels, Watches, and Now $100 million Cash !!!!

Police probe Serb ties to helicopter heist

Police in Serbia suspect the mastermind behind last week's brazen helicopter heist is a 40-year-old Bosnian Serb living in Belgrade known as the 'gangster king'.

The man has an extensive criminal record and has lived in Sweden in the past, but has lived in Serbian capital for the past six years, according to Austrian news bureau APA.

Swedish police confirm that the man is of interest to their investigation.

The 40-year-old is also listed as a friend of one of the arrested suspects on the social networking website, Facebook.

According to newspaper Vecernje Novosti, Swedish investigators are set to arrive in Belgrade on Tuesday to exchange information with their Serbian colleagues.

Serbian Home Secretary Ivica Dacic also confirms that the national police attempted to warn their Swedish colleagues of the planned coup.

The Serbs also warned Swedish police that members of the former special operations unit, the Red Berets, were involved in preparations for the robbery.

The Red Berets were an “anti-terrorist unit” within the Serbian-Yugoslavian police.

Their leader, Milorad Ulemek, otherwise known as Legija, has been sentenced twice to 40 years imprisonment for the murder of prime minister Zoran Djindjic in 2003, and for the murder of Yugoslavian former president Ivan Stambolic in 2000.

The Red Berets have also been accused of war crimes in Kosovo.

The group was disbanded after Djindjic's murder. Aside from those members that have been arrested, little is known of the group.

Swedish police are currently holding six suspects in Stockholm whom they believe had a role in the early morning raid on the G4S cash depot in Västeberga south of Stockholm.

In emerged on Tuesday that the youngest of the six, a 21-year-old male, was in police custody less than two weeks ago on suspicions of having robbed an armoured vehicle south of Stockholm.

The 21-year-old man has the most extensive criminal record of all the arrested suspects and is being held on suspicion of being an accessory to aggravated robbery.

The second robbery in which the man is suspected to have been involved transpired on September 18th in Kärrtorp, when a guard stopped an armoured vehicle to refill an automatic teller machine.

One of the men threatened the female guard with an axe, the other held her at gunpoint.

The pair grabbed a bag of cash and made off in a vehicle that was later abandoned and exchanged for a moped.

A short time afterwards, police arrested two men suspected of the robbery, including the 21-year-old.

Police requested to have the men remanded in custody, but the 21-year-old was released due to insufficient evidence.

“Suspicions against him remain. He was found at the scene of the crime behaving strangely,” criminal inspector Sven-Olof Karlsson told the TT news agency.

Karlsson was surprised when he discovered on Monday that the 21-year-old was one of the arrested suspects in the Västberga coup.

“I was surprised when he showed up in these circumstances, but I'll never be surprised again,” he added.

The man is well known by police in Stockholm's southern districts. His previous convictions include abuse, illegal threats, narcotics-related offences and obstruction of justice.

Police have clamped down on communication with the press and will not be releasing any new information pertaining to the investigation of the helicopter robbery.

“At the present time we are not releasing any information at all about the ongoing investigation,” said Varg Gyllander, spokesperson for the National Criminal Investigation Department (Rikskriminalpolisen).

Such a measure is highly unusual and may relate to the fact that at least ten of the suspected robbers remain at large.

There remains a significant risk that these men may tamper with important evidence, or hide themselves abroad.

TT/The Local ( 656 6518)

Swedish Justice Minister Ask:
"Shut up and do your job"

The Swedish Minister of Justice Beatrice Ask has told off the Swedish Police for the amount of leaks from the investigation team - leaks that according to TV 4 news are due to competition between the national police and the police in Stockholm.

Ask says that she is surprised by the inadequate coordination between various police authorities."I do hope that none of them have got time for general gossip, and that they instead shut up and do their job," Ask told TV 4 news.

Art Hostage Comments:
All the while back in Belgrade, large amounts of Plum brandy are being consumed amongst the Pink Panthers, Police and Political Paymasters.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Stolen Art Watch, Sweden Cash Heist, Helicopter Should Have Been Burnt Out, Culprits Should Have Fled Sweden !!!! Serbia,Montenegro Connection !!!!!!

Pilot, 3 others, arrested in wake of daring Swedish heist

Stockholm - A 34-year-old pilot was one of four men arrested Sunday by Swedish police in connection with a spectacular cash heist earlier in the week in which thieves used a helicopter to raid a security firm in Stockholm.

The four were arrested in early morning raids around Stockholm.

Criminals used a stolen helicopter and explosives in the early morning raid on Wednesday at the G4S cash depot in the suburb of Vastberga.

They escaped with an undisclosed amount of cash, having given themselves a headstart by planting a fake bomb near the police helicopter that would have been used in any pursuit.

The criminals' helicopter was later found abandoned in a field north of the Swedish capital.

G4S has offered a reward of 1 million dollars for information leading to arrests. However, police spokesman Arne Andersson said the award would not be paid out if the men arrested Sunday turn out to be the criminals, as they were tracked down using investigative methods, not tips.

Aviation experts said the pilot who flew the helicopter was likely very skilled, citing the pre-dawn flight to the depot building and the location of landing site close to high trees.
Attorney Leif Silbersky has been appointed to defend one of the men arrested on Sunday.
“He asked to have me as his lawyer. I’ve met him and we’ve had a long set of negotiations.
Now I’m waiting for the police to interrogate my client,” Silbersky told TT.
According to Silbersky, his client is a Swedish citizen and he denies any involvement in the helicopter robbery.
According to the Dagens Nyheter (DN) newspaper, Silbersky’s client is one of 552 people registered with the Swedish Transport Agency (Transportstyrelsen) as having a licence to operate a helicopter and is s resident of the Roslagen region north of Stockholm.
The helicopter which was used in the heist was stolen from a Roslagens helikopterflyg AB, a helicopter training company based in the region.
One of the owners of the company said that the theft would have required familiarity with the area.
In August of this year, the 34-year-old suspect was convicted by the Stockholm District Court for a number of drug-related crimes. He confessed and was fined the equivalent of 110 days’ pay.

The suspects include a 34-year-old from Norrtälje, a 38-year-old from Stockholm, a 36-year-old man from Enskede in southern Stockholm, a 31-year-old man from Hägersten and a 29-year-old man from Norsborg, south of Stockholm.

All are suspected of aggravated robbery for their role in the Hollywood-style robbery at the G4S cash depot in Västberga south of Stockholm early Wednesday morning.

A 21-year-old man from Bagarmossen has also been taken into custody on suspicions of being an accessory to grand robbery, according to documents submitted to the Södertorn District Court.

The 34-year-old suspect is a former student of Roslagen Helikopterflyg, a Swedish helicopter training academy in Norrtälje, north of Stockholm.

“He completed his education here around fifteen years ago, but he has never worked for us,” said head instructor Christer Öhlund to the TT news agency.

According to Öhlund, the 34-year-old only attained a private flying certificate. He does not have certification to fly as a professional pilot.

The man has had regular contact with the training academy, routinely hiring a helicopter for private flights. The last time he did so was in summer of this year.

According to flight instructor, the school was planning to hire the suspect as a photographer for the company, but the plans were never carried out.

Öhlund was shocked to discover that the man was being held on suspicions of involvement in the robbery.

“I don't think he's guilty. I can't imagine that he could have done this. He's just too nice and personable to have carried out such a thing,” he said.

Attorney Leif Silbersky is defending the 34-year-old and hinted at how his client was feeling following his arrest.

“A person never feels good when they are arrested and consider themselves to be completely innocent,” he said.

Interrogations have been held for the suspects, according to the National Police Board (Rikspolisstyrelsen).

The Swedish police remain tight-lipped regarding any additional information, and refuse to reveal whether the suspect knew one another before the robbery was carried out.

District prosecutor Leif Görts is due to announce on Wednesday at noon whether he plans to request that the suspects be remanded in custody.
Serbia and Montenegro Connection

Officials: Serbs took part in Sweden chopper heist
BELGRADE, Serbia -- Former Serb paramilitaries took part in last week's brazen helicopter raid of a cash depot in Stockholm, Serbian police officials said Monday.
Former members of the "Red Berets" paramilitary unit who fought wars in former Yugoslavia in the 1990s took part in the heist, along with Swedish robbers, said Interior Minister Ivica Dacic, who heads Serbia's police.
Serbian police "handed certain information about a criminal group which was preparing a robbery" in Stockholm to the Swedish embassy in Belgrade a month ago, but Swedish authorities did not react or contact Belgrade after that, said Milorad Veljovic, a senior Serbian police official.
Swedish police had been forewarned by counterparts in Serbia about plans to rob a Stockholm cash depot, according to media reports. Six people have been taken into custody for their suspected involvement in the crime.
Serbian police told the Aftonbladet newspaper they aware of plans to rob the Västberga cash depot and alerted Swedish police that a coup was imminent.
"We gave them everything that was needed to stop the robbery," Serbian Chief of Police, Milorad Veljovic, told the newspaper.
"We really did everything in our power short of going to Sweden and stopping the robbery ourselves."
A police source confirmed for TT that Swedish police had received a tip regarding the planned robbery from the Serbian police, but rejected the assumption that they had neglected the information.
According to the information provided, the robbery was due to take place a week earlier.
At that time Swedish police were closely monitoring the robbers in an operation referred to as KKP 4.
The operation entailed monitoring a number of different cash depots and temporarily moving police helicopters from the police heliport at Myttinge on Värmdo to another location.
"But because nothing happened, the operation was called off.
Then it happened anyway, only later on," the source said.
Police helicopters at the Myttinge heliport were subsequently unable to respond when the robbery took place on Wednesday morning of last week because of fake bomb had been placed near the hangar.On Sunday, Swedish police took a total of six people into custody for their suspected involvement the robbery
Background on the Six in Custody:
Male, 34-years-old: Dubbed 'The TV Man' by the Swedish media, he lives in a villa in the Roslagen archipelago with his wife and two young children. According to Metro newspaper, the man is widely recognized in Swedish media circles, having participated in several large television productions including 'Expedition Robinson', 'Idol' and TV4's 'Kändisdjungeln' (Celebrity Jungle). The 34-year old is a licensed helicopter pilot and is believed to have flown the helicopter during the robbery. He has a history of narcotics-related convictions (cocaine), as well as a weapons infraction. According to an unconfirmed report by Dagens Nyheter, the man has certain connections to security company G4S and may have been threatened into participating in the crime.
Male, 31-years-old: Referred to as 'The Martial Artist' in the press, he is a recognized martial arts competitor and was recently placed on the police's Nova list of the 150 most criminally active individuals in Sweden. He was convicted in September last year on charges of assault for head-butting someone during a dispute over a parking place. His trainer has also been remanded in custody for his suspected participation in an Umeå robbery in May of this year.
Male, 29-years-old: Grew up south of Stockholm, Serbian background. Convicted for stealing an emerald worth around 100,000 kronor in the year 2000. According to Metro newspaper, the man is married with no children and a resident of Botkyrka in southern Stockholm.
Male, 38-years-old: Grew up south of Stockholm, Serbian background. No convictions. According to unconfirmed reports, the man belonged to a criminal youth network known as the 'Fittja Boys' who operated in Botkyrka during the 80's and 90's. The 38-year-old is acquainted with a suspected mafia boss from the former Yugoslavia, and with the 36-year-old man also suspected of participating in the helicopter robbery.
Male, 36-years-old: Raised in southern Stockholm, Turkish background. The man was also involved with the 'Fittja Boys', but has no prior convictions. He is also thought to be connected to the man suspected of masterminding the robbery.
Male, 21-years-old: Convicted of several crimes including theft, assault, obstructions of justice, illegal threats and narcotics crimes. Has been drug free during periods of his teenage life. Denies any involvement or knowledge of the crime.
Art Hostage Comments:
Milorad Veljovic need not worry, I am certain he will be rewarded very well for his efforts in telling Swedish Police the robbery was going to happen a week earlier, which caused the Swedish Police helicopters to be spaced out !!!!
It's amazing that such a well thought out heist falls because those responsible did not burn out the Helicopter or getaway vehicles.
Professional Criminals would remember to leave open the windows for Oxygen to circulate, otherwise the fire will splutter and go out.
Furthermore, an essential ingredient in any heist must be the culprits leave the country immediately after the heist.
Staying around thinking they can ride out the storm cost Mickey McAvoy 25 years and means the Kent cash robbers are serving long jail sentences, not forgetting the alleged Graff robbers who are now in jail awaiting trial.