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Thursday, February 19, 2009

Stolen Art Watch, Lowry Terror Raid, Miller Guilty !!

Guilty: £1.7m Lowry robber

A MAN has been found guilty of leading a vicious robbery at the home of an art dealer in which Lowry masterpieces worth up to £1.7million were taken.

A jury found Casey Miller guilty after two hours of deliberations at Manchester Crown Court. Miller, 23, of Constable Walk, Denton, had denied robbery.

The Lowry artworks - which included £700,000-valued The Viaduct and Tanker Entering The Tyne, valued at £600,000 - have never been recovered.

Adjourning the case for sentence on March 17, Judge Andrew Gilbart, the Recorder of Manchester, told the defendant: "A substantial prison sentence is inevitable for such a serious offence."

The judge thanked the jury and told them: "I only hope that those wonderful paintings are rediscovered for the benefit of everyone."

Some 14 works of art were stolen from a house in Cheadle by a gang of four robbers armed with a chef's knife.

Miller, posing as a postman, bundled Louise Aird, who was holding her two-year-old daughter Sabrina, to the ground.

Louise's husband, art dealer Ivan Aird, came downstairs, had his hands tied behind his back and was also threatened with the knife before the walls were stripped and paintings and drawings, many of them originals by L S Lowry, were taken away.
Art Hostage comments:
Police have until , March 17th to convince Casey Miller to hand back the stolen art for a lesser sentence.
What can Police offer ?
Does Casey Miller still have control of the stolen paintings ???

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Stolen Art Watch, Lowry Terror Trial, Most Wanted Arrested !!

Couple's £1.7m art raid terror
John Scheerhout
February 17, 2009

KNIFE-wielding robbers threatened to kill an art dealer and his wife during an audacious raid for paintings by LS Lowry worth up to £1.7m, a court heard.

Louise Aird thought it was the postman when she answered the door at her Cheadle home. But she was bundled to the ground as she was holding her baby and was threatened by a man with a knife, a jury at Manchester Crown Court was told on Tuesday.

Her husband, art dealer Ivan Aird, was tied up while a gang of robbers stripped art works from the walls and fled, the court heard.

Michael Leeming, prosecuting, said: "The evidence in this case suggests that this was not a spur of the moment, random offence but an audacious and carefully thought out pre-planned robbery."

Casey Miller, 23, of Constable Walk, Denton, denies robbery.

Mr Leeming, opening the case for the Crown, said: "On the morning of Thursday, May 3, 2007, a carefully planned and executed robbery took place at the home of Mr and Mrs Ivan Aird, near Cheadle.

"Original works of art by the artist LS Lowry, art memorabilia and other art works by other artists, valued at between £1.3m and £1.7m were stolen."

Louise Aird was feeding her daughter when the door bell rang. Mrs Aird could see a man standing at the front door wearing a long sleeved fluorescent orange jacket and black woolly hat and she assumed it was the postman.

But he bundled her into the hallway, pointing a large-bladed kitchen knife towards her face.

The Crown says the postman was this defendant, Casey Miller, said Mr Leeming.

He was shouting at Mrs Aird `get down or I will kill you. Who else is here? Don't look at me.'

Her screaming awoke her husband who came downstairs to be confronted by three or four other men who tied him up, and put him on the floor with a knife pointing at his face.

'Most wanted burglar' Peter Sonny Martin O’Halloran arrested

Police arrested one of the country’s most wanted suspected burglars, who is now being grilled about a series of break-ins across Surrey.

Peter Sonny Martin O’Halloran, 34, was arrested by Surrey Police Cross-Border Investigation Team officers at a hotel in Wandsworth on Monday, and subsequently charged with seven offences, including an attempted burglary in Princes Drive, Leatherhead, in 2007 and a burglary in Sandown Avenue, Esher on 30 December 2007.

For nearly two years, O’Halloran had been wanted on recall to prison for breaching release conditions, and also to be questioned about residential burglaries across southern and central England.

He appeared on Crimestoppers’ Most Wanted website and also featured on the BBC’s Crimewatch programme.

In December 2008, Surrey Police’s Cross-Border Investigation Team joined the hunt for O’Halloran, working with Gloucestershire Constabulary, which led the investigation to track him down.

Acting Detective Inspector Dan Volle said: “Criminals pay no regard to county boundaries, so we’re equally ready to step outside our borders and target them.

“To this end, we’ve embedded five intelligence officers in neighbouring forces and, as we’ve shown this week, we’re willing and able to work with forces that are even further afield.

“The arrest and charging of Peter O’Halloran should send a clear message to criminals that they cannot evade the police by moving around the country.

“Through Operation Shield, we will continue to target travelling offenders who blight our local communities in Surrey and those elsewhere.”

Detective Sergeant Dave Doherty, of Gloucestershire Constabulary, added: “This arrest was an example of the excellent cooperation which exists between police forces, and should serve as further evidence of our ability to work together to investigate cross-border offences, as well as our determination to bring suspects to justice.”

O’Halloran appeared at Cheltenham Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday, charged with burglaries in Gloucestershire, Surrey, Suffolk, Oxfordshire and Cambridgeshire, the attempted burglary in Leatherhead and a Proceeds of Crime Act offence in Suffolk.

He was remanded in custody, where he will be questioned further in relation to other suspected offences and is scheduled to appear at Cheltenham Magistrates’ Court on Friday, February 13.

Art Hostage comments:
Interesting way Police discovered Mr O'Halloran at this hotel.
The raising of the reward from £1,000 to £10,000 tempted someone, details to follow, who said what and have they collected the £10,000 reward !!!

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Stolen Art Watch, Blanchard/Syberg Gang Hits Cash Jackpot !!

$100K reward offered in armoured car theft

A security company has offered up to $100,000 in reward money for those who can help determine what happened to the "significant amount of money" quietly stolen from an armoured truck parked outside a Richmond Hill, Ont. bank earlier this week.

Two armed guards, working for Garda Armoured Car Services, stopped outside an RBC Royal Bank on Yonge Street, just south of King Road, at about 10:30 p.m. Thursday.

That's when they went inside to make a deposit to the automated teller machines.

When the guards came back out, the back door of the armoured truck was open and police say they then discovered that "a significant amount of money" was missing.

While no one will confirm the exact amount of missing money, some unconfirmed reports have suggested several million dollars could be involved.

York Regional Police say they are not sure how many suspects were involved in the heist, nor have they found any witnesses to the crime.

"We feel that (the vehicle) was electronically opened while the guards were inside the bank," Det. Sgt. John Sheldon told reporters on Friday.

The device could have been a sophisticated version of the same technology that drivers use to open their own cars, he said.

"A lot of expertise was used and put into this well-orchestrated crime."

Garda has said it is co-operating with police and has announced the reward "for information leading to the recovery of the stolen funds and conviction of those responsible."

If more than one person provides relevant information, the reward money will be split among the contributing parties, Garda spokesperson Joe Gavaghan told in an e-mail.

Anyone with information about the crime is asked to call York Regional Police at 1-866-876-5423, ext. 7241, or to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.

Art Hostage comments:

Interesting case.

First of all members of the Blanchard/Syberg gang used an electronic device to open the armoured trucks back door. Reports the guards left it open are false.

Second, information about the Garda trucks was provided by an inside source, who's relation is connected to the Blanchard/Syberg gang.

So, look no further than Danny Blanchard, Aaron Syberg, Dale Fedoruk, old Carl Bales and don't forget Lynette Tien.

Case solved, next please !!!

Friday, February 06, 2009

Stolen Art Watch, Aldsworth House Robbery Pair Guilty !!

Burglars threaten to pull out fingernails of retired Army major aged 75

A retired Army major aged 75 was threatened with having his fingernails pulled with pliers by burglars until he gave the keys to a safe at his country home

Tom Williams fought the masked raiders until eventually being overpowered at his estate near Chichester, West Sussex, which he shares with his wife, Sarah.

The gang, who were jailed yesterday having targeted up to ten other country house burglaries across Sussex and the south of England, stole £400,000 worth of antiques and heirlooms, including medals, swords and firearms.

Speaking after the court case, Mr Williams, whose ancestors include an admiral, a general, and a great, great grandfather who served in Nelson's Navy, said: "Once I had been tied up I was very keen on not giving them the information they wanted.

"However, when they said they would do my fingernails with pliers I started to revise my opinion."

The raiders were captured by police as they dropped off the haul with a crooked antiques dealer.

Two of them, Wolfgang Schmelz, 58, and Christopher Doughty, 48, were jailed yesterday for 17 years at Hove Crown Court.

The dealer, Phillip Capewell, received a five year sentence at an earlier trial for handling stolen goods.

It can also be revealed that a deliberate attempt to "nobble" jurors was made during an original trial, in 2007, in which the jury failed to reach a verdict. A man wearing a balaclava and ski goggles approached two jurors as they queued outside a sandwich bar in Hove during a lunch break and handed them a flyer telling them to find the robbers not guilty.

The court heard how the burglars broke into Aldsworth House late at night in June 2006 and attacked Mr Williams with a cosh.

The couple were then tied up with gaffer tape and a bag and a fleece were pulled over the couple's heads. The trio spent the next six hours looting the couple's home.

They took family heirlooms from five generations of military service going back to 1790 in Mr Williams' - including General Charles Williams and Admiral Hugh Williams.

Speaking outside court yesterday, Mr Williams said: "I really did not want to give in but I did not really have much option. I was fairly heavily overpowered.

"I had been hit a couple of times and knocked down on to the floor and kicked a couple of times.

"They were fairly criminally efficient and had got my watch off and slipped my wife's engagement ring off her finger without us realising it."

Mrs Williams said that she feared for her husband's life as he fought the burglars.

He added: "We are determined not to be broken by what happened and want to get on with our lives."
Video interview with the victims here, scroll down: