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Monday, May 30, 2011

Stolen Art Watch, Frans Hals Heist, Arthur van der Biezen,The Laughing Cavalier




Frans Hals Frame Recovered

Ton Cremers writes:

Police find stolen list Neck

The list of one of the two valuable paintings that were stolen Friday from a museum in Leerdam is found. Police found the list of work "The two laughing boys, one with a fur cap and a neighbor jar" by Frans Hals in a hedge in a residential area. Of the cloth itself and the other stolen painting, still lacking any trace.

The list of the painting by Hals was based on a tip found in the Princess Beatrix Street, a few blocks away from the museum. Many more tips, the police have not received. Police would like to know if anyone has seen or heard of a radical in the vicinity of the museum, the courthouse of Mrs. Van Aerden at Kerkstraat or around the location of the list.

The theft of the work of Hals and 'woodland scenes with flowering elder' of Jacob van Ruisdael found Friday around 03.00 noon. Museum staff warned the police after the alarm sounded. When the police arrived, the thieves were already gone.

The police Zuid-Holland-Zuid is still looking for information in the investigation into the art theft in Leerdam.

This is the case on Tuesday evening 31 may be shown in the program Invited Detection. The program is to see 21.25 hours on Ned 1.

The burglary was Thursday night on Friday 27 may at 03: 00 pm in the museum of the Hofje van Mrs Van Aerden committed. The painting "the two smiling boys, of whom one with a fur hat and a beer jug" from Frans Hals and a painting named "Bosgezicht with flowering elderberry" by Jacob van Ruysdael were taken.

Staff of the museum reported to the police after the alarm went off in the building. The police did near-and trace research, this has already yielded a handful of tips that should be examined.

On Friday 27 May became one of the lists in a hedge on the Princess Beatrix Street by a witness recovered. The list of dimensions 91 × 79 cm. (see photo) is confiscated for investigation.

Witnesses call one of the informants talks about a dark-colored Mercedes at BMW who just after burglary with high speed the Tiendweg towards Kedichem reed.

It is possible that other witnesses on that route have seen or heard something. In addition, it can be that people have seen something on the Princess Beatrix Street set list.

It is possible to run the route as shown on the attached map. Witnesses who know something of the art theft are invited to log on to the recherche in Gorinchem on telephone number 0900-8844 or via Sign Crime anonymous: 0800-7000.

The missing paintings are now among other sightings in an international database for stolen art.

Art Hostage Comments:

This is a direct translation of the latest news on the Frans Hals Heist above.

Seems the frame of the Frans Hals painting has been recovered nearby the museum which lends one to think it was discarded in the getaway.

Now, motive could lead to the recovery and if that motive is for concessions on other criminal matters, then a deal may be worked out behind the scenes.

If, as Ton Cremers pointed out earlier, Danegeld is the motive then the recovery may be more difficult to achieve and in the meantime the paintings could be used as collateral within the criminal underworld.

Still, as Art Hostage suggested from the get-go, Arthur van der Biezen and his clients, Willem Holleeder, Rob Meesen and Dino Soerel could offer assistance if they were offered incentive's, so to speak.

More to follow.............

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Stolen Art Watch, John Russell Royal Barometer, Temperature,Targeted, Taken !!


Antique barometer burglary near Ripon

Detectives are investigating the theft of a valuable antique barometer

It was stolen, during a burglary, from a cottage in West Tanfield, near Ripon between 10pm on Monday 23 May and 1pm Tuesday 24 May 2011.

The 200-year-old stick barometer, which is 40in tall and made from mahogany with a silvered brass face, is valued at £30,000.

Detective Constable Karl Middlemiss, of Northallerton CID, said: "As this is a highly distinctive item I am positive that people will remember seeing it.

"I am appealing to anyone who has any information about this theft, or knows where the barometer is now, to come forward and contact me as soon as possible.

"I am particularly interested in hearing from anyone in the antiques trade who may have been offered the item. The barometer is an early example of the work of John Russell who was made Watchmaker to His Royal Highness the Prince Regent in 1811."

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Stolen Art Watch, Frans Hals, Dangeld Revisited !!



Frans Hals, Here We Go Again


Valuable art theft in Leerdam – police looking for witnesses To a burglary LEERDAM – at the museum of the Hofje van Mrs Van Aerden are Thursday night on Friday 27 may at 03: 00 two valuable paintings stolen.

It concerns "the two smiling boys, of whom one with a fur hat and a beer jug" from Frans Hals and a painting named "Bosgezicht with flowering elderberry" by Jacob van Ruysdael.

Staff of the museum reported to the police after the alarm went off in the building.

The police do today near-and trace research and asking witnesses to come forward in the recherche in Gorinchem on telephone number 0900-8844 or via Sign Crime anonymous: 0800-7000. The missing paintings are now among other sightings in an international database for stolen art.

Rijswijk (Reuters) – Museum het Hofje van Mrs Van Aerden in Leerdam is Thursday night at a burglary on Friday two valuable works of art lost of the painters Frans Hals (1582-1666) and Jacob van Ruysdael (1628-1682). ' The two smiling boys, of whom one with fur hat and a beer jug of Frans Hals ' and ' Bosgezicht ' with flowering elderberry by Jacob van Ruysdael.

The paintings were in October 1988 even though stolen from the museum, but came almost three years later. Below is a list of notable art looting in Netherlands in over twenty years.

May 1988: three paintings by Vincent van Gogh are stolen from the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam.

It's going to be the work Anjelieren, Bouteilles et Pommes and La maison du maitre Adam Billaud. The value of the three paintings on 9 to 11 million estimated. December 1988: From the Kröller-Müller Museum in Otterlo, three paintings by Van Gogh worth 113 million euros stolen.

The works of art are a study of 1885 the potato eaters, sunflowers from 1887 and loom with Weaver from 1884. The cloths are later recovered damaged.

Two men get prison sentences. April 1991: twenty paintings by Vincent van Gogh disappear from the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam. The paintings, with an estimated value of approximately EUR 500 million, be found in a stolen car in Amsterdam. Three paintings are badly damaged. The four offenders are sentenced to jail for several years.
Pieces of Frans Hals and Jacob van Ruisdael stolen # leerdam 28 may 2011CultuurLeerdamUit the Hofje van Mrs Van Aerden are two valuable paintings stolen.

On the night of Thursday on Friday succeeded burglars erin the two Dutch masters. It is a repetition: in 1988, are the same canvases also have already stolen.

Despite the judging alarm could burglars unseen two beautiful paintings take: two smiling boys, of whom one with fur hat and beer jug of Frans Hals (1584 – 1666), and Bosgezicht with flowering elderberry by Jacob van Ruysdael (1629-1682).

The crazy thing of the whole story is that the same paintings previously stolen. During that robbery, in 1988, is the Manager of the hofje tied.

Three years later bought back the paintings, after payment of a ransom of half a million guilder, according to the Telegraph. There was much protest against, after all, if there is one sheep on the dam, follow more. Now why would there be no ransom paid? But perhaps it is precisely the other proverb: one swallow makes no summer, and the criminals to their money flutes.

Art Hostage Comments:

Rob Meesen and his Lawyer, Arthur van der Biezen might be willing to help, if offered the right deal !!!

A more comfortable, softer pillow for Dino Soerel might oil the wheels of recovery as well as consulting Willem Holleeder.

Stolen Art Watch, Frans Hals Missing, Meesen May Help !!! !!


Valuable art theft in Leerdam – police looking for witnesses To a burglary LEERDAM – at the museum of the Hofje van Mrs Van Aerden are Thursday night on Friday 27 may at 03: 00 two valuable paintings stolen.

It concerns "the two smiling boys, of whom one with a fur hat and a beer jug" from Frans Hals and a painting named "Bosgezicht with flowering elderberry" by Jacob van Ruysdael.

Staff of the museum reported to the police after the alarm went off in the building.

The police do today near-and trace research and asking witnesses to come forward in the recherche in Gorinchem on telephone number 0900-8844 or via Sign Crime anonymous: 0800-7000. The missing paintings are now among other sightings in an international database for stolen art.

Rijswijk (Reuters) – Museum het Hofje van Mrs Van Aerden in Leerdam is Thursday night at a burglary on Friday two valuable works of art lost of the painters Frans Hals (1582-1666) and Jacob van Ruysdael (1628-1682). ' The two smiling boys, of whom one with fur hat and a beer jug of Frans Hals ' and ' Bosgezicht ' with flowering elderberry by Jacob van Ruysdael.

The paintings were in October 1988 even though stolen from the museum, but came almost three years later. Below is a list of notable art looting in Netherlands in over twenty years.

May 1988: three paintings by Vincent van Gogh are stolen from the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam.

It's going to be the work Anjelieren, Bouteilles et Pommes and La maison du maitre Adam Billaud. The value of the three paintings on 9 to 11 million estimated. December 1988: From the Kröller-Müller Museum in Otterlo, three paintings by Van Gogh worth 113 million euros stolen.

The works of art are a study of 1885 the potato eaters, sunflowers from 1887 and loom with Weaver from 1884. The cloths are later recovered damaged.

Two men get prison sentences. April 1991: twenty paintings by Vincent van Gogh disappear from the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam. The paintings, with an estimated value of approximately EUR 500 million, be found in a stolen car in Amsterdam. Three paintings are badly damaged. The four offenders are sentenced to jail for several years.
Pieces of Frans Hals and Jacob van Ruisdael stolen # leerdam 28 may 2011CultuurLeerdamUit the Hofje van Mrs Van Aerden are two valuable paintings stolen.

On the night of Thursday on Friday succeeded burglars erin the two Dutch masters. It is a repetition: in 1988, are the same canvases also have already stolen.

Despite the judging alarm could burglars unseen two beautiful paintings take: two smiling boys, of whom one with fur hat and beer jug of Frans Hals (1584 – 1666), and Bosgezicht with flowering elderberry by Jacob van Ruysdael (1629-1682).

The crazy thing of the whole story is that the same paintings previously stolen. During that robbery, in 1988, is the Manager of the hofje tied.

Three years later bought back the paintings, after payment of a ransom of half a million guilder, according to the Telegraph. There was much protest against, after all, if there is one sheep on the dam, follow more. Now why would there be no ransom paid? But perhaps it is precisely the other proverb: one swallow makes no summer, and the criminals to their money flutes.

Art Hostage Comments:

Rob Meesen and his Lawyer, Arthur van der Biezen might be willing to help, if offered the right deal !!!

A more comfortable, softer pillow for Dino Soerel might oil the wheels of recovery as well as consulting Willem Holleeder.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Stolen Art Watch, Mladic Arrested, Serbian Govt Complicit !!


Tadić confirms that Mladić has been arrested

BELGRADE -- Serbian President Boris Tadić confirmed during a news conference in Belgrade that Hague fugitive Ratko Mladić has been arrested.

According to reports earlier in the day, the Serbian police arrested on Thursday a man going by the name of Milorad Komadić, who was suspected to be former VRS General Ratko Mladić.

B92 previously received confirmation that a man suspected to be Mladić was in custody.

The secret operation came after a tip-off that Komadić "possessed some identification documents of Ratko Mladić and was physically very similar to him", the Zagreb-based Jutarnji List reported earlier today.

The report did not mention the location where the arrest took place. B92 has unofficially learned that the operation took place in the village of Lazarevo, near the town of Zrenjanin in northern Serbia.

B92 contacted the police, but was told only that an identity check and a DNA analysis were "ongoing", and that a complete DNA analysis would take three days to complete.

The former military leader of Serbs in Bosnia is wanted by the Hague Tribunal on genocide and war crimes charges.

Timeline

1992 -- Karadzic opposes independent Bosnia. Bosnian Serbs declare a republic and lay siege to Sarajevo. Mladic gets command of the Bosnian Serb Army which overruns 70 percent of the country.

1993 -- Hundreds of civilians killed daily in siege of Sarajevo. War erupts between Muslims and Croats.

1994 -- Muslim-Croat war ends. U.S., British, French, German, and Russian "Contact Group" proposes carve-up of Bosnia. Bosnian Serbs reject it and Yugoslav leader Slobodan Milosevic cuts off their aid for blocking a "fair" deal.

1995 -- In May, NATO bombs Karadzic bunker after Serbs ignore an ultimatum to stow their heavy weapons. Serbs shell a cafe in the U.N. safe area of Tuzla, killing 70.

July 11 - Mladic forces overrun "safe area" of Srebrenica. In the next 7 days, up to 8,000 Muslim men and boys killed in worst atrocity since World War Two.

July 24 - U.N. issues indictments against Karadzic and Mladic for genocide citing the siege of Sarajevo.

Aug. 5 - Serb shell hits a Sarajevo market, killing 37. NATO planes and U.N. artillery blast Serb targets in response.

Nov. 16 - U.N. war crimes tribunal again indicts Karadzic and Mladic, this time for genocide at Srebrenica.

Nov. 21 - Deal struck in Dayton, Ohio, gives Serbs half of Bosnia. They must cooperate with the U.N. war crimes court.

Dec. 5 - NATO allies agree to send in 60,000 peace troops.

2001 -- Milosevic, ousted in 2000, is handed over to U.N. Tribunal. Chief prosecutor Carla Del Ponte starts a new campaign to demand Mladic and Karadzic be arrested.

2004 -- In January NATO and Bosnian Serb police search Pale on a tip that Karadzic needs medical help, but find nothing.

Dec. 16 - NATO says Mladic visited his wartime bunker in summer to celebrate Bosnian Serb Army day.

2005 -- Jan-May - A dozen Serbian generals, including several of Mladic's closest aides, surrender to The Hague to face trial.

December - Fugitive Croat Gen. Ante Gotovina is captured, redoubling pressure on Serbia to catch Mladic. The state warns that anyone aiding Mladic or his helpers will be prosecuted.

2006 -- Army intelligence issues a report revealing that Mladic had been using Serb army premises until mid 2002.

May -- After months of warnings, the European Union suspends talks with Serbia on a Stabilisation and Association Agreement, putting EU membership hopes on hold.

July -- Belgrade court indicts 10 people for helping Mladic hide from 2002 to January 2006. The investigation shows Mladic stayed mostly in the high-rise New Belgrade area of the capital.

2007 -- May-June - Under a new coalition government, the drought of handovers suddenly ends, with the arrest in Bosnia of wanted Mladic aide Zdravko Tolimir.

-- The EU resumes talks but warns Mladic is still wanted.

2008 -- Karadzic is arrested in Belgrade on July 21. Police say the bearded, grey and almost unrecognisable man had been living under a false identity, practising alternative medecine.

2010 -- Serbian police briefly detain Mladic's wife on June 10 and charge her with illegal possession of weapons.

June 16 - Mladic's family launch court proceedings to declare him dead on the grounds that he had been in poor health and they had had no contact with him for more than five years.

Oct. 28 - Serbia offers a 10 million euros reward for information leading to the arrest of Mladic, from $1 million.

Nov. 15 - Serbia is still not cooperating fully with the U.N. war crimes tribunal in the hunt for Mladic, the chief prosecutor says.

May 2011 Osama Bin Laden killed

May 2011 Angela Merkel squeezes Boris Tadic testicles, "Arrest Mladic or I'll send in KSK"

May 2011 - Mladic is arrested on May 26.

Art Hostage Comments:

Since the beginning of 2011 hundreds of millions of Euros and dollars have been flooding out of Serbia, Belgrade. The underworld were told by the Serbian govt they had until June 2011 to get their ill gotten gains out of Serbia or risk them being seized by Serbian authorities.

The final act was today when Mladic was arrested, having been under close scrutiny for a very long time.

Mafia godfathers from Italy, Montenegro, and all over Europe have been moving their cash to far away places such as Malaysia and Taiwan in order to avoid detection.

This development will no doubt speed up the entry to the EU, and all of the hundreds of millions of Euros in loans promised to Serbia once it cleaned up its act.

A further development is the outstanding stolen art taken early 2008 in two raids in Switzerland. First the two Picasso's on loan from Germany and second the Cezanne and Degas stolen from the Buhrle Museum.

Don't be surprised to hear of the stolen watches and high value jewellery in the possession of Mladic, given as a tribute by certain criminal elements.

More to follow.................

Breaking News..............

The KSK Kommando Spezialkräfte (Special Forces Command, KSK) Germany's version of the Brit SAS or U.S. Delta Force, have been on stand-by to go into Serbia and arrest or kill Mladic.

The Serbian Govt were left with no choice but to make the arrest themselves, therefore avoiding the embarrassment felt by the Pakistan govt over the Osama Bin Laden affair.

Angela Merkel gave Serbian Prime Minster Boris Tadic an ultimatum to arrest Mladic or she would send in the KSK to snatch him. Boris took the easy option and therefore Mladic is in custody.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Stolen Art Watch, Pink Panthers, Serbia, Spain, France, Brazil & Now Hollywood !!






Serbian Criminals Hit Headlines Across Globe

http://www.balkaninsight.com/en/article/serbian-mafia

As Leonardo Dicaprio reportedly prepares to shoot a film on the infamous Pink Panther gang, real-life Serbian criminals have hit headlines across the globe this week.

While the government reiterated on Monday that the fight against organised crime is a top priority, Serbian criminals allegedly dealing in international crime have been nabbed on two occasions in Spain over the past week.

The latest incident took place this weekend in Madrid, where Spanish police smashed a Serbian gang of 29 men suspected of robbery and fraud in Spain, Portugal and France.

According to police, the criminal group was divided into four groups: one in southern Spain, one in the Basque region, northern Spain and southern France, one in the eastern Spanish city of Castellon, and one in Portugal.

In a separate incident last Thursday, three Serbians and three Montenegrins were arrested in Spain on suspicion that they attempted to smuggle 77 kilograms of cocaine. The drugs were transported from Argentina aboard a ship, and were intercepted in the port of Tarragona.

Meanwhile, the country's Foreign Minister, Vuk Jeremic stressed on Monday at a meeting of the Adriatic-Ionian Initiative in Brussels, where Serbia took over the chairmanship of the initiative, that the fight against organised crime will remain Serbia's priority. He also noted the need for regional cooperation for the issue to be resolved.

Montenegrin and Serbian criminals have hit headlines before for large-scale crime, in particular for cocaine smuggling from South America to Western Europe.

On top of the list is Darko Saric, the alleged leader of an organised criminal group which is suspected of smuggling over 2.1 tons of high quality cocaine from South America to Europe. Saric, who is of Montenegrin origin but holds Serbian citizenship,is currently at large and a warrant has been issued for his arrest.

The Serbian prosecutor filed charges against Darko Saric and his associates in April 2010.

Zoran Nikolic, Senior Research Fellow at the Institute for Criminological and Sociological Research, said that these criminals are high profile criminals but "still cannot be compared on the basis of international influence and abilities with the Pink Panthers."

The Pink Panther gang became infamous after a jewel heist in London's upscale Mayfair district in 1993 valued at around half a million euros. British police called the gang "The Pink Panthers" in reference to a series of 1960s movies starring Peter Sellers.

It is estimated that the group's robberies in cities all over the world over the last 10 years netted them some €250 million. Interpol headquarters in Lyon formed a special project to deal with the gang, and while some have been arrested and convicted, others remain at large.

According to Serbian daily Blic, a screenwriter visited Belgrade last week to meet with Interpol officials and a Radio Belgrade host about the Dicaprio Pink Panthers film.BELGRADE - Criminals from Serbia were leading Balkan groups which organized supply and transport of cocaine from South America to Europe. Names of some leading criminals are yet to be revealed.

Among the 19 million inhabitants of Sao Paulo, Brazil, live Serbian gangsters

‘Supply and transport of cocaine were secured by various groups from Serbia, Montenegro, Croatia, Slovenia and Bulgaria. Albanian criminals from the southern Serbian province and Albania were also included by securing the net of street dealers in Europe.

The job included heroin dealers from Turkey exchanging heroin for cocaine. It is believed that Darko Saric’s group was involved in such exchange. In Europe there were three chief points for cocaine trade – in Spain, Italy and Holland’, ‘Blic’ source informed about the investigation says.

All supplies of cocaine were carried out via Goran Nesic-Ciga, arrested in Brazil. Darko Saric’s gang as well as the ones of Dejan Stojanovic Keka (also arrested in Brazil), Zeljko Maksimovic-Maka and his close associate Slobodan Kostovski (found in Brazil several months ago), Mileta Miljanovic (arrested in Italy recently) and Luka Bojovic (presently hiding somewhere in South America) were also involved.

Finding all those criminals began by action of Serbian police called ‘Niva’ in cooperation with the Special prosecution in 2008. Together with it there was another action going on ‘The Balkan Worrier’ which included American DEA. This action led to confiscation of cocaine supplies organized by Darko Saric’s criminal group.

In February of 2010 In Goran Nesic’s stocks police confiscated 550 kilos of cocaine hidden in fruit cans.
Serbian Minister of Justice Snezana Malovic said she would request extradition of Goran Nesic and Dejan Stojanovic Keka.

Rockets fired on Nebojsa Joksovic’s building

Three rockets from a hand launcher, as ‘Blic’ learns exclusively, were fired on Thursday morning at a building housing printing works of Nebojsa Joksovic, a witness-collaborator in trial against Darko Saric’s organized criminal group. Explosion which caused panic in a part of Belgrade called Zarkovo at 01.02 was preceded by messages from a mobile telephone number in Montenegro which contained serious death threats to another witness-collaborator in trial against Saric, Mile Jankovic, a businessman from Vojvodina.

‘There is no doubt that Darko Saric is behind rocket attack and death threats. Since this is a very serious situation police are intensively investigating the case and identity of the people who fired rockets. The attack was well planned and carried out at night at a moment when there were no people in the street. Only after the attack residents of the neighboring buildings went out. Fortunately, nobody was hurt. Material damage is not significant either but the message is clear as it is clear who it came from’, ‘Blic’ source from Serbian Home Ministry says.
Although there are no eyewitnesses there are certain operational data which gave direction to the investigation.

Witness-collaborator at secret location

Nebojsa Joksovic was one of the leading members of a criminal group of Darko Saric, a drug-dealer from Montenegro. He was arrested on January 27 last year in police action called ‘The Balkan Warrior’. In July he was transferred from prison onto a secret location after having reached agreement with the Prosecution over getting a status of witness-collaborator. In January he testified in the Special Court in Belgrade without presence of the public. He then said that part of the money earned from drug dealing ended in Stanko Subotic’s pocket. He also admitted to have participated in dealing of cocaine in Italy and that orders were given to him by Darko Saric direct.

Associate of drug lord Saric arrested in Podgorica

PODGORICA, Montenegro — Police announced on Thursday (May 12th) the arrest one of the closest associates of fugitive drug lord Darko Saric. Jovica Loncar was detained in Podgorica on suspicion of laundering Saric’s money obtained from cocaine trafficking. Saric and his group already face charges in Serbia of smuggling 2.5 tonnes of cocaine from South America. In March, prosecutors filed fresh charges against them for money laundering and investing the drug money in Serbia’s privatisation process.

DiCaprio as chief of Serbian Pink Panther gang in a movie hit

http://english.blic.rs/News//7668/DiCaprio-as-chief-of-Serbian-Pink-Panther-gang-in-a-movie-hit

Belgrade - Leonardo DiCaprio, a famous Hollywood actor and producer is preparing a film on worldwide known Serbian gang of robbers called the ‘Pink Panther’. As ‘Blic’ learns exclusively the screenplay writer of DiCaprio’s film was in Serbia last week where he talked with members of Serbian Interpol Office and Dragan Ilic, host of ‘Waking Up’ program at Radio Belgrade.

‘This is a very serious story but everything is still a secret and I am not allowed to reveal any details. It is true that the film is in plan’, Ilic says for ‘Blic. He did not want to reveal why he was contacted about the ‘Pink Panther’.

‘There are several ideas. I do not know what shall happen in the end but there is huge interest worldwide about the ‘Pink Panther’ gang’, Ilic says.

At Interpol Office in Belgrade we failed to collect some more information about talks with the screenplay writer of DiCaprio’s film.

‘The talk lasted several hours. We talked about everything important for writing of the scenario, characters, key events and similar’, we were told at the Interpol.
The Serbian ‘Pink Panther’ gang that robbed jewelry worth hundreds of millions of EUR is frequent topic of many newspapers, magazines and TV programs in recent years. Articles about the gang appeared in Japan, America, United Arab Emirates and all European countries.

‘Panthers’ were also presented in several documentary programs the authors of which talked to representatives of Interpol, police of the Great Britain, France, Spain, etc. They all were trying to reveal who the people organizing robberies of diamonds, expensive jewelry, watches, etc., were.

The ‘Pink Panther’ came in the focus of media attention in May of 2004 when the gang robbed a famous jewelry shop in an elite part of Tokyo. The value of stolen diamonds was EUR 32 millions. New robberies followed in Switzerland, Germany, Lichtenstein, Monaco and Dubai. The one in Dubai lasted 20 seconds only. The value of the stolen jewelry was USD 11 millions.

The chief members of the gang are the Serbs and Montenegrins. According to police files more than 200 members of the gang have been identified until so far.

Art Hostage Comments:

David Samuels wrote the definitive article about the Pink Panthers in the New Yorker which has become the reference point for The Pink Panthers and all related Balkan Criminal activity.

Well worth the read:

http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2010/04/12/100412fa_fact_samuels

A Reporter at Large

The Pink Panthers

A tale of diamonds, thieves, and the Balkans.

by David Samuels April 12, 2010

http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2010/04/12/100412fa_fact_samuels

ABSTRACT: A REPORTER AT LARGE about a gang of jewel thieves known as the Pink Panthers. On May 20, 2003, two thieves walked into the jewelry store Graff, in London, and, in less than three minutes, made off with more than thirty million dollars’ worth of diamonds.

It was the biggest jewel heist in British history. One of the thieves, who was raised in Montenegro, was reputed to be one of the leaders of a spectacularly inventive, and elusive, gang of jewel thieves called the Pink Panthers.

The London robbery was followed by other Pink Panther heists, in Europe and Asia; the take from these robberies approached a quarter of a billion dollars. In frustration, detectives in London, Paris, Brussels, Geneva, and Tokyo, working through Interpol and Europol, began pooling information about the Panthers.

Over the past year, the writer spoke with seventeen detectives, in ten countries, who are tracking the Panthers. Belgian detective André Notredame believes that the core of the Panther operation consists of between twenty and thirty experienced thieves. Dozens of other facilitators in various European cities provide logistical assistance.

Since 2002, Notredame says, the Panthers had robbed a hundred and fifty-two jewelry stores. Describes a robbery committed in Dubai. Mentions Dusko Poznan, a thief who was hit by a car in Monaco and then arrested at the hospital. In the fall of 2007, Interpol created the Pink Panther working group. Mentions André Muhlberger and Milan Ljepoja.

Geneva detective Yan Glassey believes that the Panthers originated as a gang from Cetinje, Montenegro, but grew into a wider Balkan collective. Mentions Dragan Mikic. Criminal gangs became dominant forces in Serbia during the Balkan conflicts of the nineties, and they were further empowered by Western sanctions which gave them a stranglehold on the markets for gasoline, cigarettes, and other staples.

Describes how Slobodan Milosevic helped turn Serbia into a criminal state. Mentions the novel “Gorilla” (1974), which was inspired by the life of Serbian thug Stefan Markovic. Six years ago, two Serbs, Djordje Rasovic and Aleksandar Radulovic, stole the Comtesse de Vendôme necklace from a Tokyo boutique.

According to Milutin Dacovic, a retired criminal, the higher ranks of the Panther organization include a number of Serbian ex-soldiers, but the diamond trafficking was directed mainly by criminals from Italy, Russia, Israel, and Holland.

In Montenegro, banditry may be even more deeply entrenched than it is in Serbia. Mentions Milo Djukanovic and Ratko Knezevic.

The writer met with a Panther who called himself Novak. Novak said there were four main Panther groups, originating from a single group of diamond thieves from Montenegro. After a robbery, the jewels were handed off to a member of the team, who then drove to a rendezvous near a highway.

The diamonds would be inspected by the buyer. Novak suggested that many of the jewels were recut in Antwerp and then shipped to Israel, where they reëntered the legitimate diamond market as “new” stones.

http://archives.newyorker.com/?i=2010-04-12#folio=042

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Stolen Art Watch, Scholar Spots Stolen Speed Triptych !!


Missing Italian medieval painting found after 40 years

http://newsandinsight.thomsonreuters.com/Legal/News/2011/05_-_May/Missing_Italian_medieval_painting_found_after_40_years/

NEW YORK, May 23 (Reuters) - A 14th-century Italian painting is headed back to its native land, 40 years after it was stolen from its rightful owners.

The artwork, a wooden triptych, was part of $33 million in loot taken from a private villa in Goito, Italy, during a brazen burglary in 1971, authorities said Monday. The painting depicts the Virgin Mary with the baby Jesus and measures approximately 1.6 feet by 1.9 feet.

According to the U.S. Attorney's office in Brooklyn, which aided Homeland Security agents in investigating the case, burglars cut through metal bars and a glass window in the dead of night to steal the painting from the villa. The theft netted several other pieces of art as well, including paintings by the Italian realists Giovanni Fattori and Silvestro Lega.

The triptych -- attributed to a Goito artist, Jacopo del Casentino, according to prosecutors -- eventually made its way to Newhouse Galleries, an art gallery on New York's Upper East Side. In 1973, the J.B. Speed Art Museum in Lexington, Ky., purchased the painting from Newhouse for $38,000, apparently without realizing it was stolen, authorities said.

Officials at the Italian Ministry of Cultural Heritage in Rome provided information that led Homeland Security investigators to Lexington, where art consultants confirmed the painting was the missing triptych.

J.B. Speed's director, Charles Venable, said an Italian scholar saw a photograph of the artwork and recognized it from an old black-and-white photo of the painting.

Under a settlement between the U.S. Attorney's Office and the museum, the artwork will be returned to the Cultural Heritage Office of Mantova, Italy, which will determine who is now the rightful owner. The previous owner, Lidia Bianchi Perdomini, who owned the Villa La Giraffa, from which the painting was taken, has since died.

UNWITTING PURCHASERS

The settlement makes it clear there is no evidence the museum knew the artwork was stolen until the investigation revealed it.

Less clear is how Newhouse Galleries came into possession of the painting, though Venable said it was likely that the arthouse bought it unwittingly. Attempts to reach the gallery's owner on Monday were unsuccessful.

The painting won't head to Italy immediately, Venable said. The museum hopes to mount an exhibition next month, complete with the triptych's long backstory.

"Works of art are kind of like people," he said. "They have all kinds of histories."

Venable said it is difficult to say what the painting is worth today, in part because he is not convinced that it is the work of del Casentino.

The case is In re: Italian wooden triptych depicting Madonna with Child, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of New York, No. 2010-v-03119.

For the U.S. Attorney: Assistant U.S. Attorney Duncan Levin

For the museum: Todd Lowe, chairman

Monday, May 23, 2011

Stolen Art Watch, Time On Their Hands !!


Antique clock worth £4,000 stolen from Farnham house

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-surrey-13483407

Detectives investigating an £11,000 burglary at a house in Surrey have released an image of an antique clock that was taken by the thieves.

The English bracket clock was made in about 1850 and was worth £4,000.

Offenders smashed their way into the detached house in Farnham on 4 May, Surrey Police said. The burglars also took jewellery worth £7,000.

Det Con Simon Paterson said the clock was a valuable piece and showed there was a market for horological goods.

The chiming mantle clock has the name H Laylor on its face and the serial number 4385.

Police want to speak to any antique dealers, traders or internet shoppers who seek the clock being offered for sale.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Stolen Art Watch, Paris to Toronto, Art Theft Merry-Go-Round !!


Cat burglar arrested with 500,000 euros-worth of artworks
http://www.english.rfi.fr/culture/20110518-cat-burglar-arrested-500000-euros-worth-artworks

Artworks worth 500,000 euros have been seized from a suspected cat burglar just outside Paris. Drawings by impressionist Camille Pissaro and modernist Fernand Léger were among the haul.

Police in Seine-Saint-Denis found the paintings and drawings at the home of a 43-year-old man whom they had been tracking for several months.

They also found a folding ladder, mountain-climbers’ ropes and boots, suction pads and a pick.

The haul led them to conclude that the man was responsible for a series of art thefts in Paris’s posh 16th arrondissement in 2009 where the burglar gained access by climbing the sides of buildings.

The investigation began with an inquiry into the sale of stolen artworks by a Paris antiques dealer who was arrested on 11 May in possession of a number of stolen objects, including a painting by Johan Jongkind, a Dutch artist who lived and worked in France, and a small Chinese clock.

Thief steals £3,000 worth of art from Brighton gallery

http://www.theargus.co.uk/news/9038277.Thief_steals___3_000_worth_of_art_from_Brighton_gallery/

A brazen art thief walked into a gallery off the street and stole work worth thousands of pounds.

The offender struck in the middle of day while staff and members of the public milled around the artwork.

Valuable items - including one-of-a-kind sculptures - were piled into a bag before the crook raced out.

It was not noticed how much had been stolen until the thief was long gone. Items which were taken were due to be part of forthcoming exhibitions.

The theft took place in the Ink_d Gallery in North Road, Brighton, on Monday.

Dan Baldwin, from the gallery in North Laine, said: “£3,000 of original artwork was stolen from the gallery in one go.

“Alongside some wonderful pieces the perpetrator also stole many smaller items from books to postcard packs to plate stands.

“We have reported it to the police and are currently talking with them about the missing work and those people involved.”

One of Mr Baldwin's greatest fears is that the work will be sold on for scrap.

Second man arrested after paintings stolen from Yorkville gallery

http://www.thestar.com/news/crime/article/994055--second-man-arrested-after-paintings-stolen-from-yorkville-gallery

Police have arrested a second man after three valuable paintings were stolen from a Yorkville art gallery in April.

The incident happened early in the morning on April 7 at Odon Wagner Gallery, on Davenport Rd.

Police say two men smashed the storefront window and stole three paintings: “Wild Fields” by Greg Harris, “Still Life with Flowers” by Weidong Wang, and “Seated Lady With Fan” by Zhao Kaolin.

The paintings, valued at $73,000, have not been recovered.

Robert Regina, 48, of Toronto was arrested Thursday and charged with break and enter commit and mischief over $5,000.

This is the second arrest in connection to the theft.

About two weeks after incident, police arrested Aaron Sherman, 43, of Toronto.

'Honour among thieves' claim as pictures go back to painter

http://www.thisisnottingham.co.uk/news/Honour-thieves-claim-pictures-painter/article-3570873-detail/article.html

A NOTTINGHAM artist is celebrating after 28 of his paintings that were stolen were returned in strange circumstances.

Mik Godley's work was stolen while it was in temporary storage in a studio in Scarborough owned by fellow painter Kane Cunningham following an exhibition nearby at Driffield in East Yorkshire.

But the paintings, which explore Mr Godley's German family heritage, were then returned on the back of a low loader truck in broad daylight after an intermediary acted as a go-between and persuaded thieves to bring the paintings back.

Mr Godley, who lives in the Arboretum area of Nottingham, said: "To be honest, when I first heard about the theft I thought it was a joke, but realisation that I had lost them crept up on me gradually.

"The paintings were two years' work and could not be replaced.

"I felt seriously depressed about that.

"But then Kane got in contact and said 'we've got them back' and I couldn't bring myself to believe it.

"I had started to feel some distance from the paintings, so I still can't quite believe that they have been returned.

"I was in a state of mourning."

Mr Cunningham bought his studio at Knipe Point, near Cayton Bay, Scarborough, for £3,000 as an art project as it is due to collapse into the sea because of land slip.

The thieves struck in March and also stole around 40 of Mr Cunningham's paintings.

Mr Godley said his paintings represented two years' work and had been on sale at up to £1,500 each.

The paintings were not insurable while in storage in the clifftop studio since the property will be destroyed by coastal erosion.

While the police investigated the theft, appeals for help with tracking down the stolen paintings were made through online art magazines.

Mr Godley added: "I was told it was a case of 'honour among thieves' and that an art lover had insisted that they should be returned immediately to the house, so they could be seen by the public as a collection of works."

"They look as if they have been 'manhandled' and have been moved around by grubby hands, but they are okay."

Mr Godley, who works as an art lecturer, said the stolen paintings would have been worthless to anybody on the black market anyway since he is not well known enough nationally.

However the paintings, which have been shown in several Nottingham venues, had intense personal meaning for him and he said he had been through a fall spectrum of emotions since the theft.

North Yorkshire Police said inquiries into the theft were still ongoing. A spokesman said: "A 49-year-old Scarborough man who was arrested on Thursday, April 28, 2011, on suspicion of burglary, in connection with the theft of paintings from Knipe Point, remains on police bail while inquiries continue."

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Stolen Art Watch, Israeli Authorities, That's The Way To Do It !



US professor suspected of selling stolen artifacts



http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4070409,00.html

Antiquities Authority finds history expert stole relics, sold them to tourists while working as tour guide

A history professor from the US is suspected of attempting to smuggle antiques valued at tens of thousands of dollars out of Israel. Earlier this week a joint Israeli Antiquities Authority and customs operation managed to thwart the smuggling attempt.

Among the antiquities found in the professor's possession were silver coins from the Second Temple period and 1,500-year-old clay candles. If convicted the professor could face a three year prison sentence.

The joint operation began two weeks ago when the Antiquities Authority theft prevention unit inspectors succeeded in locating an American tour guide that was selling antiques to tour groups visiting Israel from the US.

The inspectors were present at a sale being held at a Jerusalem hotel and arrested the tour guide. He was held for questioning and when they searched his room they found hundreds of artifacts which according to suspicions, were dug up and stolen from various archeological sites throughout the country by thieves.

Further investigations revealed that the tour guide was a history professor in the US, an expert on Egyptian culture and history. At the end of the interrogation the professor was released but investigators who were keeping watch found that he was continuing to sell artifacts to tourists.

The inspectors also kept watch on the tourists following them to the Taba crossing in Eilat delaying the tourists at the crossing alerting them to the fact they were suspected for involvement in illegal trade and export.

Among the artifacts found in the tourists suitcases were ancient silver and bronze coins from the Second temple period (2,000 years old), ceramic candles from the Roman and Byzantine period and various glass and ceramic tools. The items were authenticated and were most likely stolen from tombs and archeological sites in Israel. The total sum paid by the tourists for the stolen items came to $20,000.

Meanwhile, investigators continued following the professor who was making his way to Ben Gurion Airport to leave Israel in order to cash the checks he received. He was detained before boarding his flight, and when his bags were opened a treasure trove of ancient coins was revealed. Papers documenting his deals were also found.

The professor admitted to the offenses and after posting bail was allowed to leave the country.

The head of the theft prevention unit at the Antiquities Authority Amir Ganor said at the conclusion of the operation that "those who purchase artifacts from unauthorized sources at exorbitant prices are endangering themselves, their money and encouraging artifact theft and robbing the country of its history.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Stolen Art Watch, Bejing Forbidden Palace Theft, Update !!


Thief threw away treasures when told they were fakes

http://www.shanghaidaily.com/nsp/National/2011/05/18/Thief+threw+away+treasures+when+told+they+were+fakes/

THE thief who stole art pieces from the Palace Museum on May 8 discarded the objects after a jewelry shop boss told him they were fakes and had no value, Beijing police said yesterday.

More details of the theft were disclosed at a press conference in Beijing yesterday when police returned a total of six pieces to the museum - two recovered near the museum after they went missing and four retrieved after they had been stolen.

Police are still looking for the remaining three stolen pieces and are offering a reward to anyone who returns the missing items or provides information leading to their recovery.

Police said the suspect, Shi Baikui, a 28-year-old man from Shandong Province, had planned his actions in advance rather than acting on the spur of the moment as previously reported in the media.

Shi told police he came to Beijing in March and was unemployed. By chance, a TV program about the Palace Museum caught his attention, and later he had the idea of stealing objects from it to get rich.

Shi said he searched for museum information online and visited it to check out the area.

Police said he checked out routes leading to the moat that encircles the Imperial Palace, also known as the Forbidden City. He paid special attention to the museum's closing time and when security guards make their final rounds.

Shi managed to sneak into the museum without buying a ticket on May 8 and hid in a narrow passage near the jewelry exhibition hall until it got dark.

At 8pm he turned off a power switch, broke windows to enter the exhibition hall, stole the objects and escaped by climbing over the compound wall.

He threw some of the objects away when he was making his escape and ditched the rest after the jewelry shop boss told him they were fake and refused to buy them.

According to the Beijing police, one of the items was found by a construction worker surnamed Yang, who found the piece lying on the ground early in the morning on May 9.

Yang compared the object with the stolen goods shown on TV news and found they looked like the same, so he handed it in to police.

Police yesterday warned that anyone who found any of the missing items but then refused to return them to police could face up to seven years in jail.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Stolen Art Watch, Beijing Palace Heist Solved !!




Chinese police arrest man after theft from Forbidden City

Police have arrested a man they said broke into China's famed Forbidden City, the heavily guarded former home of the country's emperors, and stole seven art pieces made of gold and jewels.

BEIJING - A man who is suspected of stealing nine pieces of art from an exhibition in the Palace Museum was arrested by the Beijing police authorities on Wednesday, China Central Television (CCTV) reported.

The suspect, named Shi Bokui and from Caoxian county of East China's Shandong province, was taken away by the police from an Internet bar in Fengtai district in Beijing at 7:40 pm on Wednesday, the report cited the police authorities as saying.

Shi, born in 1983 and about 160 cm tall, has confessed the theft to the police and some of the stolen art pieces have been recovered, the report said. Shi has lived in Beijing for four years. He allegedly entered the Palace Museum as a tourist and conducted the theft for money. He was identified by police through fingerprint comparison.

It was the first theft in 20 years from the historic site, the tourist attraction's spokesman Feng Nai'en said, adding that security would be increased.

An investigation found that nine pieces all small Western-style gold purses and mirrored compacts covered with jewels made in the 20th century were missing from the temporary exhibition, on loan from the private Liangyicang Museum in Hong Kong.

Two of the missing items were recovered nearby shortly after the theft and were slightly damaged.

State media said that police had caught a man called Shi Bokui in an Internet cafe on Wednesday night who confessed to the robbery. The China Daily said some of the seven remaining stolen pieces were recovered, but did not give details.

Feng said the entire Palace Museum will be checked to see if any other items are missing.

"For this to happen here shows us that, No. 1, we need to speed up the modernization and installation of our security systems," Feng said. "No. 2, we need to investigate carefully and find out if we can implement better, more modern and more sophisticated security systems."

Wang Xiahong, curator of the Liangyicang Museum, refused to reveal the value of the stolen items, which belong to Hong Kong art collector Feng Yaohui.

She said that despite the theft, the exhibition would continue and other pieces would be added to the show, which is temporarily closed but expected to reopen soon.

The museum's deputy director, Ma Jige, told reporters he felt "very guilty and sorry" about the theft. He stood up and bowed to Wang in a show of remorse.

Karen Smith, a Beijing art curator and historian, said the theft was "a big loss of face" for the museum but would probably result in much improved security at the sprawling landmark.

She also noted that the robbery targeted items of relatively low value and prestige, not the museum's best-known treasures such as its large collection of rare and delicate scroll paintings. Those pieces are undoubtedly much better protected, she said.

"If you were really going to go and steal something from the Palace Museum, there's a lot more valuable things you could make off with," Ms Smith said.

It wasn't immediately clear whether future cooperation with other international exhibitors would be affected by the incident.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Stolen Art Watch, Forbidden City Palace Museum Beijing Raided !!




Million dollar art heist at Palace Museum

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english2010/china/2011-05/11/c_13869515.htm

BEIJING, May 11 (Xinhuanet) -- Police are hunting a thief who stole millions of dollars worth of art in an overnight heist at the famed Palace Museum in Beijing.

The suspect, who was caught on security cameras, is believed to have hidden inside China's biggest museum before closing on May 8, and carried out the burglary before midnight.

Rumor of the art heist inside the heavily fortified Forbidden City Palace began to hit China's cyber world Tuesday. A blogger claimed the theft amounted to nearly one billion yuan (154 million U.S. dollars).

The museum confirmed the theft Tuesday afternoon on its microblog, but did not confirm the value of seven stolen items which were borrowed from a Hong Kong museum for the exhibition in the capital.

"They (the stolen items) are private collections, basically gold and silver powder boxes decorated by gems of various kinds," said Wang Xiahong, curator of the Hong Kong-based Liangyi Museum.

"Not as much as 1 billion yuan, but tens of millions to say the least." she adds.

Organizers say the exhibition will continue till June 27 as scheduled after a discussion with the collector of the missing items. The Palace Museum will hold a news conference today to release photos of stolen pieces which may be on sale on the black-market.

Exhibition halls, including the site of the theft in the east zone of the museum, have been closed to tourists since Tuesday noon, with the authorities not giving a clear date of when they will reopen.

According to sources, the exhibition, titled "Blending—Liang Yi Treasures Exhibition," displayed 130 exhibits, including Chinese-style furniture, western-style cosmetic containers and handbags. The exhibition kicked off on April 28 and is scheduled to last to June 27.

On May 10, a thread about the missing exhibits appeared online and said that it was reported on reliable authority that late in the night on May 8, a patrolman of the security office of the Imperial Palace found a suspicious man with a large red mark on his body. The red mark was suspected to be scraped from the wall of the Imperial Palace. The patrolman ordered the suspect to squat down and then reported to his superior. However, the suspect seized the chance and ran away. After that, the security office was unable to find him.

Early the next day, the staff workers of the Palace Museum found a big hole at the black wall of Chengshu Palace. After they entered the palace through the hole, they were surprised to learn that the exhibition cabinets were pried open and seven exhibits were lost.

It is reported that the Imperial Palace has a strict security system controlling entry and exit. Security guards patrol every night. Monitoring detectors are set up everywhere, and there are alarms on the exhibition cabinets.

However, the security office of the Palace Museum did not find the suspect despite its surveillance system and even the alarms did not sound.

The Beijing Police said, after a preliminary investigation, the lost exhibits were discovered to be modern handcrafts displayed by the Hong Kong Liang Yi Collection. Now, the police are conducting further investigations.

In addition, according to internal information, the police have confirmed a 27-year-old non-Beijing suspect. He hid in the Imperial Palace before it was closed and stole the exhibits at midnight. Currently, the police are in pursuit of the suspect. However, the information has not been confirmed by the police.

On May 10, Wang Xiahong, the curator of Hong Kong Liang Yi Collection, arrived in Beijing. She said a press conference will be held on May 11 to release the clear photos of the seven missing exhibits in order to prevent illegal trading.

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Stolen Art Watch, Kenny Captured, Paradise, Na, Luton Airport !!!



Antiques raider Michael Kenny back in jail

http://www.gazetteherald.co.uk/news/9013924.On_the_run_antiques_raider_back_in_jail/?ref=rss

A BURGLAR convicted of stealing valuables worth more than £35,000 from North Yorkshire country houses has been arrested after nearly four years on the run.

Michael Edward Kenny, 50, was named one of the “most wanted” criminals in Britain when he skipped bail and missed his trial at York Crown Court in 2007.

He was sentenced to eight years in prison in his absence for six high-value burglaries involving the theft of antiques, paintings and jewellery worth thousands of pounds from six houses in the Malton, Great Broughton and York areas. Police finally tracked him down to Luton in Bedfordshire, where he was arrested by local police on Thursday.

He will now serve his sentence and faces additional court hearings in connection with his disappearance.

Det Insp Ian Dyer, of York CID, said: “I am very pleased that we have been able to bring Kenny to justice. His arrest should send a clear message that we will never stop searching for those people who believe they can evade justice. We will now await the outcome and results of further court hearings with interest.”

Kenny used his girlfriend’s York home as a base for targeting secluded and isolated properties including Foston Hall, near Whitwell-on-the-Hill, Settrington House, near Malton, and South Park, at Hutton Wandesley, near Rufforth.

He was said to have got away with valuable items worth £7,500 from Foston Hall and antiques worth £11,500 from Settrington House in 2004.

He also took a £3,000 painting from South Park which was later offered for sale at a London auction house.

A warrant was issued by the court in November 2007, when Kenny failed to turn up for his trial.

Police issued a further media appeal in March this year to help trace him.

Update:

Antiques no-show - police catch up with thief

http://www.northyorkshire.police.uk/index.aspx?articleid=6705

A prolific antiques burglar is facing eight years and eight months in jail after police curtailed his life on the run.

50-year-old Michael Edward Kenny from London, who was already facing eight years imprisonment, was today given an additional eight months by Judge Stephen Ashurst at York Crown Court.

Kenny has been on the run from police since November 2007 when he failed to turn up for his trial on 13 November 2007.

He was found guilty in his absence of six high-value burglaries following the theft of antiques, paintings and jewellery worth thousands of pounds from six houses in the Malton, Great Broughton and York areas. He was sentenced to eight years in jail on 15 November 2007.

An bench warrant for his arrest was issued by the court on 13 November 2007 and extensive police enquiries followed.

Despite attempts to cover his tracks and living under false names, police tracked Kenny down to Luton in Bedfordshire where he was arrested on 6 May.

Assistant Chief Constable Tim Madgwick, said: "Today's outcome is the result of a determined and tenacious team of police officers and staff and I am extremely pleased that we have finally been able to bring Kenny to justice.

"His sentence reflects the seriousness of his crimes, and will hopefully bring some closure to the victims of his crimes.

"Kenny's arrest sends a clear message to the criminal world that we will never give up searching for those people who believe they can evade justice.

"This is an excellent example of how police forces work together, sharing information and intelligence to bring offenders to justice. My thanks go to the Bedfordshire officers for their help in apprehending Kenny."

Saturday, May 07, 2011

Stolen Art Watch, Adams Tapestry Recovered in Sting, When Will They Ever Learn ???



Stolen $75,000 tapestry recovered in undercover SFPD sting operation

http://www.californiabeat.org/2011/05/06/stolen-75000-tapestry-recovered-in-undercover-sfpd-sting-operation

A piece of artwork — valued at $75,000 and last seen on display at Moscone Center before it was stolen eleven years ago — was recovered this week after San Francisco Police officers conducted an undercover sting operation to arrest the alleged thief.

Police Inspectors apprehended Margarita Andino, 51, of San Francisco and booked her on felonious possession of stolen property.

Investigators said she ended up with the artwork after someone smuggled one of three sections of a tapestry piece entitiled “Pond in Golden Gate Park” by the late artist Mark Adams out of Moscone Center where it had been on temporary display from its home location at San Francisco International Airport.

The entire three-piece tapestry work was valued at $250,000 total, police said.

For eleven years, the artist presumed the work would never be recovered and began work on a replacement section for the art display.

Adams, a resident of the city, died in 2006.

This week, Police Inspectors were notified by the San Francisco Art Commission who reported that someone had contacted the late artist’s estate claiming they were in possession of the panel and offered to sell the artwork back.

Undercover investigators, posing as agents for the estate, contacted the suspect and identified her as Andino. Police served a search warrant and recovered the missing tapestry piece in her possession on Wednesday.

The three-piece tapestry work is currently on display at a gallery inside SFO’s new Terminal 2. The original piece that had been stolen has been booked into evidence by investigators.

It is unknown whether the Art Commission — which maintains the SFO gallery — will restore Adams’s replacement with the original rendition.

Contact the Beat at news@californiabeat.org.

Monday, May 02, 2011

Stolen Art Watch, Paterson Colts Recovered, Will They Go Home ??



Historic Colt Revolvers Stolen, Then Recovered, Now Owned By Travelers

http://blogs.courant.com/connecticut_insurance/2011/05/historic-colt-revolvers-stolen.html

The city of Paterson, N.J., has had bad luck with its Colts -- it keeps losing them to Hartford.

First it was legendary firearms magnate Samuel Colt, who closed his gun-making factory, the Patent Arms Manufacturing Co. in Paterson, and auctioned off its equipment in 1842. He later opened a plant in Hartford that changed the face of American industry. It is still headquartered today in West Hartford.

Then, two Colt revolvers made in the early years of the Paterson plant and worth hundreds of thousands of dollars were stolen in 1998 from the city-run Paterson Museum.

For years, the museum director and city officials hoped the guns would turn up again. And they did last year. Now they're being held as evidence in the local police department.

In order for the Paterson Museum to keep the guns, however, the city would have to return an insurance payment of $235,000 that it received after the theft from Travelers. But the city spent that money years ago, and now it doesn't have the cash. Just two weeks ago, Paterson laid off 125 police officers.

That means The Travelers Cos. Inc., which has its major presence in Hartford, is the default owner of two Paterson Colts, some of the most treasured firearms in the history of U.S. manufacturing.

"Patersons are highly sought after, and adding to the zest is the fact that they've been stolen," said Herbert G. Houze of Cody, Wyo., an author, firearms expert and curator of the major Colt show at the Wadsworth Atheneum a few years ago.

Although the guns are sitting in Paterson's police station, they may be far from returning to the city's possession, dashing hopes that the crime would be solved and the museum made whole.

When an insurance company pays a claim for a rare item with subjective value, such as an antique firearm, that sets up an odd arrangement. Paterson officials said the insurer isn't looking for the present value of the Colts, or any accrued interest on the claim. Travelers only wants the amount it paid to the city 13 years ago, according to city officials.

That creates a conundrum for Paterson. If the guns are worth more than Travelers paid in 1998, the city could pay the claim and sell the guns for a profit. But the less-than-mint condition of the guns suggests that the claim amount might be more than their current value. The only way to find out the real value would be to sell the guns at auction and see how much collectors are willing to pay.

The pistols were nabbed in a smash-and-grab late on the night of Sept. 30, 1998, at the Paterson Museum. Thieves broke into the museum office, tripped the burglar alarm and fled with about $200 in petty cash, a replica Texas holster model Colt worth about $300, a 1930s Smith & Wesson police revolver that belonged to a former Paterson police officer and had no significant value, and two wooden cases about the size of cigar boxes.

Those plain-looking cases happened to contain a .28-caliber Colt Paterson Baby, or pocket model No. 1, in its original case with extra accessories that came with the gun, and a .31-caliber Colt Paterson No. 3 belt model revolver also in its original case with accessories, said Museum Director Giacomo DeStefano.

The pistols were in DeStefano's office on a photographic copy-stand, and not on display, because the museum had better quality versions of these Colt Patersons for its exhibit.

DeStefano was out giving a lecture to a historical society the night of the theft. He returned to the museum to bring back a slide projector when he discovered the burglary. He called Paterson police, who had already responded to the security alarm and come to the museum, finding no one there.

Artifacts in the museum's exhibit space were left untouched in the heist. DeStefano says he is positive the thieves were looking only for cash and items they could sell at a pawn shop. That's because they came back later the same night and took a stereo in the office, but again left alone the collection of 31 antique Colt Patersons on display at the museum.

The city filed a claim with Travelers and received $95,000 for the .28-caliber pistol and $140,000 for the .31-caliber pistol.

No Prosecution

Years went by without any leads on the crime. Then, last November, DeStefano got a call from an antiques dealer who said a man in Butler, N.J., about 16 miles northwest of Paterson, was attempting to sell the stolen Colts on the Internet.

"I had heard it so many times before -- people would call and say, 'Someone is selling your Patersons,'" DeStefano said.

This time was different. DeStefano noticed that one of the cases the Butler man had was missing a spare accessory for the gun, a spare cylinder, which matched a missing accessory in a case stolen from the Paterson Museum. The Butler man also mentioned the replica that was stolen.

DeStefano called the police. He and two Paterson police detectives posed as antiques dealers and arranged to meet the Butler man at a neutral location in Garfield, N.J.. The value of the guns made the Butler man nervous about inviting people to his home, DeStefano said.

DeStefano sensed that the guns were the ones stolen from the museum as soon as he saw them. He took the Colt Patersons in his hands and disassembled them to see the serial numbers.

"I was pretty calm up until I saw the serial numbers, and I started shaking inside. ... Then I gave the detective the nod," DeStefano said.

The detectives and DeStefano told the Butler man their real identities, and he cooperated with an investigation. The man, whom neither DeStefano nor police would name, is not a suspect in the theft.

The Butler man said he discovered the guns stuffed under insulation in the attic during a renovation project on a house that he bought a few years before, DeStefano said. The home had several owners between the time the pistols were stolen in 1998 and the time they were recovered last year.

Police still don't have a lead in the crime, but it's no longer an active criminal case.

Paterson Police Lt. Ron Humphrey, who was the original detective on the case in 1998, said that even if someone walked into the station and admitted the crime, he couldn't arrest that person for it. The five-year statute of limitations has expired.

Like A Shipwreck

The city of Paterson has struggled financially for years, selling off property to balance its budget even before the recent layoffs.

The city council has discussed the antique Colts, but isn't about to buy them back, said Paterson Budget Director Russell Forenza.

"It would have always been a strain," he said, reflecting back to better economic conditions, adding, "If Travelers would like to make a donation, that's not a problem."

If the city is unable, or unwilling, to pay the insurance claim from its $237 million budget, the burden is on Travelers to determine how long to wait before taking hold of the pistols.

Travelers declined to comment, saying it does not discuss dealings with its customers.

And what happens to items that are recovered after an insurer has paid a claim? There's a long history of that.

"Such things go back to shipwrecks," said Robert Hartwig, president of the Insurance Information Institute, a property-casualty trade group.

The earliest form of insurance dates back to marine coverage in England during the 17th century for ships and their cargo. Sometimes, a ship would become victim of the sea and the owner would file a claim. If the shipwreck is later discovered, the insurer owns the cargo until the original owner gives back the claim money, Hartwig said.

It's the same scenario for stolen cars or artwork. If the item is recovered after an insurer paid a claim, and the policyholder isn't able to pay back the claim money, the insurer sells the property for the best possible price.

"This is common: a car is stolen, and the car is recovered," Hartwig said. "Insurers don't have garages full of old cars. They sell them off."

An auction is a likely venue to get the best price, Hartwig said. The price that the guns get at auction depends on their condition, said James Ferrell, a specialist in arms and armor with Bonhams & Butterfields auction house. It's anyone's guess if they will sell for more or less than Travelers paid on the insurance claim.

If the Paterson Museum's Colt Patersons are sold at auction, it's unlikely they would end up at the Museum of Connecticut History, which has the state's most impressive public collection of Colts, said museum administrator Dean Nelson.

"We actually do have some choice Patersons here," Nelson said.

Besides, Nelson said, "It would be far out of our realm of active bidding."

Private collectors, on the other hand, are likely to be interested in such rare guns. The Paterson plant made only 2,850 pistols and fewer than 2,000 rifles, carbines and shotguns, DeStefano said. Nobody knows how many survived and are in good shape today, though experts estimate about 10 percent are known to exist.

Even fewer are available in the original case with accessories.

"Placing these into the market can create a lot of excitement," said Wes Dillon, a firearms coordinator with the James D. Julia Inc. auction house, a premier seller of investment-grade firearms.

The James D. Julia auction house sold a Colt Whitneyville-Walker in 2008 for the highest price ever paid at auction for a single firearm -- $920,000 -- according to Auction Central News.

"It creates a lot of excitement any time a new item is dangled in front of affluent buyers for a relative bargain," Dillon said.

Houze -- who wrote "Samuel Colt: Arms, Art and Invention" to coincide with a traveling exhibit sponsored by the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, and other books about antique firearms -- said the Colt Patersons are the most sought-after because they're the earliest, and the ones in Paterson's police station would certainly draw an audience of affluent bidders.

Even though it's likely the pistols will be auctioned and become the property of a private collector, DeStefano holds out hope they eventually will return to a museum, preferably the Paterson Museum. That's how the museum got these Colt Patersons in the first place -- they were donated by the estate of Paul Applegate Jr., of Morristown, N.J., in 1982.

"That's the thing," DeStefano said. "Hopefully, they'll end up back here one day."