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Thursday, June 30, 2011

Stolen Art Watch, Brighton Antiques Mafia, A Knocker Boy's Tale !!

Police warning against Brighton antiques valuing firm

By Ben Parsons »

An antiques valuing firm is a cover for theft, police have warned.

Burlington Galleries, of Dyke Road Avenue, Brighton, is believed to be a cover for a “knocker boy” scam to steal old people's heirlooms.

The firm appears to share its address with another business, Westdene Galleries, run by Lee Collins, a convicted thief who was jailed last year for tricking a pensioner out of her grandmother's jewellery.

Mr Collins has denied making calls in areas where alarm has been raised, and said he has not done anything wrong.

The Metropolitan Police has advised people to avoid Burlington Galleries after its name appeared on leaflets distributed in Westminster offering free valuations for antiques.

A statement from the force said: “Police believe this to be a cover for a scam preying on elderly victims whereby the perpetrators con their way into vulnerable resident's homes and steal high value goods, antiques and jewellery.”Sergeant Chris Sadler said: “The advice from you local team is to avoid this company or any individuals connected with it at all costs and do not believe any information received about them.”

Steve Green, of Callon Close, Worthing, contacted The Argus after receiving a phonecall from Westdene Galleries asking if he had received one of its leaflets.

He searched for the name on the internet and found an Argus article reporting Mr Collins's sentence for theft last year.

When a man arrived on his doorstep with a brochure, the caller denied the report had anything to do with him and left.

Mr Green then found a photo of Mr Collins and believes he was the caller.

When The Argus rang Mr Collins, he said: “If there is a crime committed why don't they come down and arrest me? I can assure you I'm doing nothing wrong.

“I haven't been in Worthing and haven't been in Westminster.

“Tell the police to make an appointment and come and see me.

“They are more than welcome to come and see me any time.”

Detective Inspector Bill Warner, of Sussex Police, said: "I do not believe there is a problem with knocker boys operating in Brighton and Hove.

“I would however say that people should always be wary of dealing with people at their door.

“Should there be an offence reported to us we would thoroughly investigate it.

Art Hostage Comments:

Comments to follow..........

Stolen Art Watch, Lobby Leger Checks Out Of Carlyle Hotel

Art Thief Swipes Fernand Leger Painting at Carlyle Hotel

By Amy Zimmer

DNAinfo News Editor

MANHATTAN — An art thief made off with a painting worth a reported $350,000 from the Upper East Side's posh Carlyle Hotel early Tuesday morning.

The Fernand Leger painting, which went missing from the lobby hallway, was on loan from the Helly Nahmad Gallery located inside the hotel's swanky Madison Avenue building.

"The Carlyle's security personnel reported the painting missing at 3:30 a.m. to the 19th Precinct as well as the gallery owner," a hotel spokeswoman said. "A complete investigation is now in process."

A video surveillance shows a man walking into the swanky building then coming out a short time later with a bag not visible in the first clip, the New York Post said.

The 1917 ink-on-linen by Leger — a French artist who was part of the Cubism movement — was apparently only 10-inches-by-8-inches.

The Madison Avenue landmark, a favorite for presidents and prime ministers, boasts of itself as "a showcase great art, a purveyor of privacy and a sanctuary of luxury and refined taste," on its website.

Carlyle art thief gets inn and out

A sticky-fingered art thief strolled through the Upper East Side's famed Carlyle hotel yesterday and walked off with a painting worth $350,000, police sources said.

A worker told authorities that the Fernand Léger ink-on-linen work disappeared between 3 a.m. and 5 a.m. from the hotel's Helly Nahmad Gallery.

Video surveillance shows a man walking into the Madison Avenue hotel, then coming out a short time later with a bag that wasn't seen on the first video clip.

Sources said the crook probably stuffed the 10-inch-by-8-inch painting into a bag. Authorities said the thief got into a car and drove off.

The 1917 work of art, "Composition aux element mecaniques," was painted by Léger, a 20th-century French artist important in the Cubist movement.

There have been no arrests.

The Carlyle is a favored crash pad of aristocrats and stars. France's glamorous first lady, Carla Bruni, stayed there last year.

The hotel's Café Carlyle was also the longtime home of legendary jazz pianist Bobby Short.

Guests walked past white-gloved elevator operators and glanced at the yellow crime-scene tape that clashed with the hotel's ornate decor.

The hotel is known for its discretion, which explained why employees talked about the theft in hushed tones.

"Everybody in the art world already knows that painting's gone," one employee said. "This is horrible."

A detective dusted the area for fingerprints.

"Just because they touch something doesn't mean they leave a print," he said. "With DNA, maybe we'll get lucky."

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Stolen Art Watch, Barnes Collection Transit Trauma

The $25 Billion Art Move

How do you transport priceless art? As Philadelphia's Barnes Foundation begins a controversial relocation, it confronts a question that has long tantalized thieves and challenged security experts.


Chances are, absolutely nothing will go wrong when the Barnes Foundation closes its doors on July 3 and begins the process of transporting its art collection to a new building down the street from the Philadelphia Museum of Art, next to the Rodin Museum. After all, the hard part is over, the near-decade of court filings seeking to enable, or prevent, the move of a collection estimated in some quarters to be worth as much as $25 billion. What's left is a six-mile trip, normally a 20-minute drive from the Barnes's quiet longtime home in suburban Merion, Pa., to the new location, slated to open next May.

Still, if history is any guide, this is not an operation to be taken lightly. The museum's collection could be among the most valuable physical assets relocated in American history, rolling down Philadelphia's ulcer-inducing Schuylkill Expressway, or via shortcuts through sketchy Fairmount Park. Combative chemist Albert Barnes accumulated perhaps the greatest Impressionist and post-Impressionist art collection in the world: 181 paintings by Pierre-Auguste Renoir, 69 by Paul Cézanne, 59 of Henri Matisse and more. The works to be moved include Cézanne's "Bathers," Georges Seurat's "Models," Vincent Van Gogh's "Postman" and the spectacular mural "The Dance II," which Dr. Barnes commissioned Matisse to create for the space being vacated. There are five versions of Cézanne's much-revered "The Card Players" in the world; the one hanging at the Barnes is the biggest, and many think the best. About 4,200 works will be moved, at undisclosed departure times between July and next spring.

"I can't say that I can recall any time in history where such a large amount of high-value, world famous artwork has been moved from one place to another," says Paul Hendry, a self-described former stolen-art trafficker who now consults and blogs about art crime from outside of London. "The only equivalent I can give you would be during the Second World War, when governments would empty their museums and store them."

So how do you move many billions of dollars in art through Philadelphia?

"Very carefully," says Barnes spokesman Andrew Stewart.

No, really…how? Do you do it quietly or loudly? All at once, or in many small trips?

"We're basically not talking about logistics, for all the obvious reasons," says Derek Gillman, the Barnes's executive director.

It's likely that the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Philadelphia police will be involved, though the FBI officially refused to comment and the Philly police department says it has no specific plans yet.

For decades, the Barnes saga has been the Philadelphia story with everything: art, money, politics, race, sex (the place is filled with nudes). Dr. Barnes, who grew up in a working-class Philadelphia neighborhood and made his fortune selling the anti-gonorrheal compound argyrol in the early 1900s, used his wealth to accumulate works by the giants of Impressionism and post-Impressionsm before they were stars.

Never cozy with the art establishment—the highbrows at first didn't like his taste—he became an anti-snobbery snob, building a mansion just outside the city's border that opened in 1925 to exhibit the works not as a museum but as a school, teaching his own art theory and favoring working-class customers. Dr. Barnes allowed public access, but when the rich and famous asked for a peek he was happy to snub them. T.S. Eliot, after lecturing nearby, was turned away. Writer James Michener claimed to be a steelworker to get in. Legal documents forming the foundation placed limits on weekly attendance and hours. Over the years they were loosened but not removed. Main Line neighbors complained about tour buses.

Ultimately, the restrictions became a lever in the argument by powerful patrons of Philadelphia arts, who began financing a complicated legal battle in 2002 by claiming the foundation was nearly bankrupt and could be saved only by scrapping Barnes's rules and raising money to move to a new gallery downtown. A core of diehard former Barnes students battled to prevent the move, and some art lovers have mourned the loss of a singular venue where the setting has been as much a part of the experience as the masterpieces. In 2004, a state judge ruled that the Barnes foundation could relocate. Appeals dragged on, but to no avail.

It used to be in fashion to transfer high-profile art conspicuously, with visible police escorts, but these days it's more hush-hush, says Noah Charney, founder of the Association for Research into Crimes against Art, who is teaching a masters course in Italy this summer on the history of art crime.

"The security directors with whom I work don't want anyone to know what is moving when. It's all very cloak-and-dagger," he says. "They have been known to use double-bluffs—multiple armored trucks with only one carrying any art. The trucks have their own anti-hijack security systems, just as they would carrying cash or gold, and the art itself is often fitted with RFID [radio frequency identification] tags or GPS tracking devices."

Insurance requirements tend to limit the total value placed in a vehicle. "You don't want to load the truck with 50 Rembrandts and have the driver disappear," says Ron Simoncini, who was security director for New York's Museum of Modern Art when MoMA moved its holdings (including Van Gogh's "Starry Night") to Queens in 2002, then back to renovated Manhattan digs in 2004. That move, like the Barnes transfer, was a short ride through city streets and across a river. Moving everything to Queens took six months, says Ramona Bannayan, MoMA's deputy director for exhibitions and collections. On the way back they made 170 truck trips.

"The goal was to ensure that you have a variety of things moving at any one time," she says. "You're thinking about the size, the materials, the weight, the distribution of artists, you're thinking about value, fragility. That's just what museums do on a regular basis when they move anything. This is just taking it to the next degree."

Escorts often ride with valuable art, usually unarmed. Guards may carry weapons in unmarked follow cars. Ideally you wouldn't move by dark of night, Mr. Simoncini says: "God forbid a truck does go bye-bye. It would be much easier to spot a truck in the daytime with a police helicopter."

Any move like this has multiple points of vulnerability, not just the time on the road. There's the packing, the holding areas, the security of coordinating emails.

"From a criminal's perspective," Mr. Hendry says. "I would say the danger points would be once you've crated things up, and they're ready to be moved in a couple of days, or alternatively once they've reached their location before they're hung."

There's also risk of noncriminal loss or damage. In the mid-1990s, the Barnes sent 83 of its prominent works on a fund-raising tour to museums in Tokyo, Paris, Washington, Philadelphia, Toronto and Austin, Texas. Nothing was stolen, but "there was a lot of minor damage, little bits of gilt, plaster from the frames," says Nicholas Tinari. A former Barnes student, he is founder of the Barnes Watch website and opposed the move.

Like other critics of the move, he saw it as a grab by Philadelphia commercial interests to promote tourism. A 2010 documentary, "The Art of the Steal," highlighted this view. Quirky as the Barnes was, art critics loved it. Matisse called it the only sane place in America to view art. In one intimate room after another, paintings hang nearly floor to ceiling on walls covered with burlap, close enough to breathe on and seemingly without order: European masterpieces next to African sculpture and ornamental metal door hinges. Barnes arranged ensembles to show influences and similarities in the use of lines, light, color and space.

When it reopens next year, the Merion mansion will remain held by the foundation but largely empty, surrounded by a small, gated arboretum that's also part of the school. In June, at a farewell open house for friendly neighbors, Barnes executives put out a suggestion box seeking ideas for how to put the building to use. The second floor at Merion already has been closed to the public for months, used as a space to prepare art for the move.

The $25 billion is the most common estimate. "I wish people would stop using that number," says Mr. Gillman of the Barnes Collection. The fact is, nobody knows. Priceless is priceless. The FBI estimates that art crime is responsible for $6 billion in losses annually world-wide.

Robert K. Wittman, former head of the FBI's Art Crime team and now a security consultant in Philadelphia, notes that history's most infamous art thefts, including the 1990 Isabella Steward Gardner Museum heist in Boston, targeted works hanging on walls, not in transit. But he adds that art on the move is at its most vulnerable.

Mr. Wittman helped recover a 1778 Goya masterpiece stolen off a truck in Pennsylvania in 2006 en route from the Toledo Museum of Art in Ohio to the Guggenheim in New York. In that case, its two drivers made the dumb decision to check into a motel for a nap. They returned to find their parked truck busted open and the unmarked Goya crate gone. The thief didn't know what he had, and said he wanted to get rid of it. He didn't destroy the painting because "it kind of grew on me." He had a lawyer contact authorities saying he had found it in his basement—there was a $50,000 reward—but wound up pleading guilty and being sentenced to five years in prison.

Though high-profile heists make headlines, most often works are stolen from private residences, commercial galleries or government offices—more frequently crimes of opportunity than "Italian Job"-style capers. Mr. Wittman makes it part of his seminar presentations to debunk the Hollywood image of art crooks as Pierce Brosnans and George Clooneys. His PowerPoint includes a rogue's gallery of actual thieves' ugly mugshots.

"Really famous paintings are impossible to do anything with except sell back to an insurance company," adds Mr. Simoncini. "The idea of the Japanese industrialist sitting in his house with a Van Gogh on the wall behind a screen that he can look at at night is a bunch of baloney."

Profiling is difficult, though, because art crimes usually aren't solved. "At best there's a 10% recovery rate and a 2-to-6% prosecution rate," Mr. Charney says. "Since we criminologists learn mostly from solved cases, there are relatively few cases on which to draw."

It's hoped that this won't be one of them and that the Barnes move will entail only a familiar nightmare—the one that thousands of Philadelphia commuters face daily, on roads that have a way of being a deterrent to all kinds of schemes.

"The worst thing in the world for an art thief," says Nick Tinari, "would be to get stuck in traffic on the Schuylkill Expressway with a Cézanne."

—Don Steinberg

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Stolen Art Watch, Dali Doubt & Obama Restores Kenyan Heritage

Stolen Dali report impossible

It’s impossible that a woman on Schenkel Lane had a Salvador Dalí worth $50,000 stolen from her home, says Joan Kropf, curator of the Dalí Museum and Morse Collection in St. Petersburg, Fla.

The painting, “Apparatus and Hand,” hangs today in the museum, where it has been since 1957. Though it’s not for sale, Kropf said, it would not likely be sold for less than $10 million.

Most recently a Dalí oil painting, which was composed before his most important surrealist period, sold for $10 million.

Moreover, a signed print of “Apparatus and Hand” would only be worth a few hundred dollars to $4,000 at the most, Kropf said.

“Sometimes people get confused between what is a real painting and a print,” she said.

Frankfort Police called the museum after Lesley A. Smith, 45, reported that the signed painting, silver ball earrings, emeralds, diamonds, a sterling silver set and golf clubs were stolen from her Schenkel Lane home June 4.

How Obama ‘rescued’ Kenya’s stolen art

US President Barack Obama intervened to have an American university return artefacts stolen from Kenya.

Dr Linda Giles, an American anthropologist who has done extensive research among the Coast tribes said as Illinois senator, Mr Obama exerted pressure to ensure the Mijikenda artefacts known as vigango were returned.

Dr Giles was speaking at a Giriama site at Kaloleni which she is fighting to rescue from land grabbers.

“I heard about vigango in 1980 and recognised them in my Illinois State University museum as belonging to the Mijikenda people,” she said.

“This is when we began the war to return them to Kenya. But universities would not release them, forcing the then Senator Obama to intervene until most of them surrendered the artefacts,” she said.

The theft of vigango was widespread as “there are lots of them in universities, museums and even homes in the US, United Kingdom, Italy and elsewhere in Europe”, said the researcher.

Dr Giles complained about the little effort the National Museums of Kenya was making to recover the artefacts.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Stolen Art Watch, Recluse, Dutch Master, Trains, Pink Panthers & Thomas Crown, Longest Day 2011

Dutch masterpiece nicked from mansion

Upper Austrian police are investigating after paintings and various valuables were stolen from an elderly woman’s house at the weekend.

The criminals broke into the villa in Seewalchen on Saturday night when the owner – a 65-year-old widow – was out with a friend.

The burglars took a painting understood to be created by students of Dutch master Hieronymus Bosch, Buddha statues, precious dishes and other valuables. The stolen items are worth 700,000 Euros altogether, according to reports.

Brazen theft of art at the Attersee, Austria

As the owner of the Manor House "Office of court" in Seewalchen stayed away, unknown acknowledged out their property.

naughty Art thieves are likely to have made ette prey at night to Sunday when the Manor House "Office of court" in Seewalchen am Attersee. The Fang turned out finally but yet less lush, than first thought: one of the stolen works of art - a painting with biblical scene - not, is as feared, to an original portrait of the Dutch master Hieronymus Bosch (1450-1516), but only to the work of one of his students.

The unknown seem by a park and a high wall surrounded property, as well as the habits of living alone owner in advance to have explored this. You beat to the widow of 65 left her plot for several hours. As Gertrude late at night was t. returning home, she met to none of them more. She noticed but the intrusion tracks and alerted the police.

"The perpetrators have committed probably the coup between 8 pm and midnight, while the owner with a friend has been on the road", confirmed by the police Schörfling Christian Zaunrieth.

The Executive is based on a contract theft. A total seven paintings, two Buddha statues, several pieces of different harness collections and two clocks to be stolen.

"The owner did unfortunately not too hard the thieves", emphasizes Security Director Alois Lißl. The works of art were not backed up by an alarm system, yet there will be a documentation to the respective Beutestücken.

The burglars were able to search in all rest rooms for antiques and preparation for the removal. "As an escape car, they probably have a small truck or"
"A great car station wagon used", explains Lißl. Corresponding tyre prints were seized. The perpetrators are expected to have left DNA evidence also

No entry to the Castle: Next up to the front door not coming

LAKE WALCHEN. After the art theft in the Office, experts examine whether the prey is valuable exhibits. The reclusive living owner speaks of a damage of 700,000 euros.

As reported, unknown perpetrators have captured pieces of art from the building as a Renaissance Castle in the night on Sunday. (56): 700,000 Euros worth according to lock owner Gertrude Tymcio. The police assumes "cautious estimates" a total damage of €100,000. The value of the Diebesbeute can be not estimated currently, because the individual pieces of painter nor time period could be associated with, according to a press release of the Department of security. As was now well known, it is the stolen painting at one of the work of an anonymous painter of the 18th century. The value is according to Upper Austria's security Director Alois Lißl about 30,000 euros. There are about 20 art theft according to Lißl annually in Upper Austria, Austria. About one-fifth of the spoils reappears.

By Amtshof owner Gertrude Tymcio, it is little known in the community. It should be a great animal friend. Even for the community, it is difficult to come to the widow in contact. A Seewalchner interested in local history wanted to view the official court some years ago and take photos from the chapel. "More than up to the front door I came never", says the chronicler. That of works of art is "some" is regarded as open secret in the village. On the value of which nobody knows but correctly. Because the owner derives no visible revenue, the rumor going around that could have sold the one or the other piece from the collection in the past.

POLICE: Man sold $40,000 model trains to The Roundhouse

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Louisville Metro Police say they've arrested a man for selling $40,000 of his father's stolen model trains to a Louisville hobby store.

It happened earlier this year. Police say that on Feb. 23, 36-year-old Anthony S. Dockwiller showed up at The Roundhouse on Brownsboro Road, near Rudy Lane, and sold the antique model trains to the store.

The Roundhouse is a hobby shop that specializes in antique model trains.

Dockwiller's father had reported the trains stolen days earlier. According to police, he eventually visited The Roundhouse and found his train set. Since Dockwiller had to display his ID to store employees before he sold the trains, it was easy to identify him as the seller.

Police were called, and Dockwiller was arrested Friday evening, shortly after 6 p.m., on an arrest warrant.

He was charged with receipt of stolen property of a value in excess of $10,000.

Photos of jewelry stolen on the canvas

The Geneva police publishes online the photos of the seven kilograms of jewelry seized on a network of thieves and receivers of the Balkan survey. Nine people had been detained following an operation in a bar in Eaux-Vives, end of April.

(TTY) The victims of burglary and theft are invited to visit the Service Web page jewellery of the judicial police to the address, said Monday the judiciary. Attorney Gaëlle Van Hove will thus determine the criminal origin of the jewellery and luxury watches likely stolen from Geneva and surrounding area since 2009, or even before.

The survey found that more than six kilos of gold, mainly jewelry, were sold to smelters. The network is also accused of stealing clothes of luxury since the year 2010, Geneva, but also in the Switzerland, France and Belgium.

Four of the members of this so-called organization are still held. Most of the defendants are accused flight band and by trade and possession of stolen property by profession. The network was located in the "Niki Bar", in the neighbourhood of the Eaux-Vives.

Art theft at Art Basel?

Most likely mix tricky thieves at the art 42 with - the art fair Art Basel opened on Tuesday this week the gates.

Rumored professionals trying now to commit - this on 15 June an art theft. It is not yet clear whether works of art were stolen.

An eye-witness (B. Eisenring) reported: "A confusing game with the Securitas and 30 to 40 equal dressed gentlemen was suddenly." "You were all wearing a melon and the same SuitArt suit." Different images support the rumors. The story reminds much of the film ' the Thomas Crown affair' with Pierce Brosnan. It is in the film the tricky art theft, the Thomas Crown to have committed. The exhibition management published so far still no opinion

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Stolen Art Watch, James Ensor Drawing Missing from Dutch Gemeente-Museum-Verdwenen

Drawing James Ensor from gemeentemuseum disappeared 17, 2011Uit

the gemeentemuseum in the Hague is a pencil drawing of the Belgian artist James Ensor (1860-1949) disappeared.

The museum is not the owner of the drawing. It had the piece on loan on the occasion of a retrospective on the Flemish painter.

The missing drawing is 22.5 by-17 inches tall and has the title triumph of death. Ensor made the pencil drawing in 1887.

The work belongs to the collection of the Koninklijk Museum voor Schone Kunsten in Antwerp (KMSKA).

It is suspected that the drawing last Friday from the municipal museum is stolen. The museum: the drawing is not ours, but borrowed from another museum, makes it all the more annoying the gemeentemuseum the matter has been transferred to the Police haaglanden.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Stolen Art Watch, Remmington Ring Returned, Coming Through The Rye !!!

Police recover Remington ring stolen from museum

OGDENSBURG, NY (ACNI) - Auction Central News has just been notified by the curator of the Frederic Remington Art Museum that the one-carat Tiffany & Co. diamond engagement ring discovered missing from their collection on June 6 has been recovered.

"We were elated to learn that the ring has been found thanks to the diligence of the Ogdensburg Police Department’s Detective Sergeant Harry McCarthy who moved quickly to secure its recovery and a confession," said Curator Laura A. Foster. "While the ring is not extremely valuable as a generic 19th-century artifact, it is invaluable to the museum as a memento of the Remington legacy."

The ring had been given by American artist Frederic Remington to his fiancée Eva Caten more than a century ago. The couple wed on Oct. 1, 1884.

"At the museum we were heartbroken when the ring went missing, and our deepest thanks goes out to the Ogdensburg Police for its quick action," said Foster.

The Frederic Remington Art Museum is located at 303 Washington Street, Ogdensburg, NY 13669. The museum is dedicated to collecting, exhibiting, preserving and interpreting the art and archives of Frederic Remington, and contains an unmatched collection of his works. The museum is open May 15-Oct. 15, Monday-Saturday, 10 am to 5 pm; and Sunday, 1 to 5 pm . From Oct. 16-May 14, the museum is open Wednesday-Saturday, 11 am to 5 pm; and Sunday, 1 to 5 pm.

1902 Coming Through the Rye

This 1902 bronze was described by the artist as “four cowboys on running horses…men shooting pistols and shouting.” In selecting the subject of his eighth bronze, Remington revisited an image he had twice earlier depicted in an illustration published in Century Magazine and several others around that time. The illustration vividly depicted recklessly spirited cowhands coming into town for a weekend of revel rousing and fun.
This was a fine example of a three dimensional study of western sculpture. Remington’s technical virtuoso was truly demonstrated in this piece more than any to date, with only six of the sixteen hooves touching the ground. This may not have always been Remington’s idea to have six of the hooves on the ground, as in an original picture of the base sketch it appeared that Remington had intended to have five hooves down and eleven in the air. Later Remington wrote the founder Riccardo Bertelli and told of the changes that were made. The casting of this piece was closely overseen by Remington, (later related by people in the workshop) this was common for his larger pieces. The sculptures numbered nine through fifteen were weaker in appearance than that of previous pieces. Also, though careful examination, experts have noticed that the signature on number nine is uncharacteristically sharper than its predecessors, indicating the piece had been re-worked, strengthened and made without a foundry marking. This may indicate that any piece after that number was produced by artisans at the foundry.
To Remington’s delight this piece was one of the only two purchased in the entire 1905 by the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington D.C. Not surprisingly, this sculpture has remained one of the most popular and sought after pieces to date, both in the eyes of the public and private collectors alike.

Antique thief contrite
REMINGTON RING: Man twice tried to return it, LaVarnway says

OGDENSBURG — The man accused of stealing an antique gold ring from the Frederic Remington Art Museum last month tried twice to return it before he was arrested on Monday, according to Edward A. LaVarnway, museum executive director.

Blake R. Peabody, 24, of 814 S. Water St., a former part-time maintenance employee at the 303 Washington St. museum, allegedly stole the single-carat, 19th-century ring May 27. On two occasions a week later, while at work June 2 and 3, he attempted to put it back in the same glass display case from which it was removed, Mr. LaVarnway said.

Mr. Peabody is facing a charge of felony fourth-degree grand larceny.

Mr. LaVarnway said Tuesday that Mr. Peabody told him of his attempts to return the ring and his motivation for doing so.

"He told me after he took the ring that he'd made a big mistake," Mr. LaVarnway said. "He was very remorseful."

The ring was reported missing June 6. The next day, Mr. Peabody was fired from his St. Lawrence County Department of Social Services Workfare program-arranged job after working at the museum for a month. Mr. LaVarnway said the dismissal was for missing too many days of work, not suspicion over the stolen ring.

Why Mr. Peabody was unable to put the ring back into the display case may have been a matter of ill timing. His working hours were 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. and, according to Mr. LaVarnway, one of his chores was cleaning the display cases.

Mr. LaVarnway said he thought Mr. Peabody never managed to find time enough alone to put the ring back.

The ring was recovered at Mr. Peabody's home Friday when Ogdensburg police went there, and he confessed to taking it. But more time passed until he was charged because Laura A. Foster, museum curator, was not available to officially identify the ring until Monday morning. Mr. Peabody was arrested an hour after its identity was confirmed.

Mr. LaVarnway said Tuesday that Ogdensburg Police Detective Sgt. Harry J. McCarthy brought the ring to him at the museum Friday. But, without the benefit of a file photograph of it for verification, the executive director was uncomfortable about making a positive identification.

"I couldn't officially identify it," Mr. LaVarnway said. "We needed a curator to do that."

Mr. McCarthy said Tuesday that no arrest was possible until the ring was officially identified. He also said police didn't believe Mr. Peabody was a flight risk.

"He was cooperative," Mr. McCarthy said. "He has three small kids."

On Monday, Mr. Peabody pleaded not guilty in City Court before Judge William R. Small and was released to the supervision of probation. He will be back in court June 21 and will be represented by the St. Lawrence County public defender's office.

Police have the ring and will return it to the museum after Mr. Peabody's legal counsel with the public defender's office has an opportunity to have it appraised. Police have given it a minimum retail value of $2,200. The museum regards it as invaluable because of its having been purchased in 1884 by the late sculptor and illustrator Frederic S. Remington as an engagement ring for his wife, Eva.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Stolen Art Watch, Summer, Time, Diamonds

Thieves escape with £1 million pounds worth of jewellery after burglary in Leatherhead

Thieves have escaped with £1 million pounds worth of jewellery and cash after a burglary in Leatherhead.

A catalogue of highly valuable and sentimental items were taken from the home, the location of which has not been released for security reasons, sometime between 1.30pm and 11pm on Sunday, June 12. A pair of chandelier platinum diamond earrings and a five carat diamond platinum ring worth £140,000, a vintage gold Rolex man’s watch with a thin gold strap and gold face, worth around £50,000, a pair of round stud two carat diamond earrings which match the stolen ring, worth around £10,000, and a £6,000 gold Cartier chain and pendant were among the items taken from the house.

A number of diamond rings, worth several thousand pounds each, were also taken including one in the shape of a panther and one set with a ruby, along with a further pair of expensive earrings.

Many of the items of jewellery were unbranded and bought from private jewellers in recent years.

Burglars also stole a number of silver and gold coins in red boxes which would be easily identifiable to the owners, several pairs of men’s designer jeans and a large amount of foreign currency and sterling.

A dark coloured Ford Fiesta with five men inside was seen driving around the Leatherhead area at the time of the burglary.

An investigation is currently underway to determine how the thieves gained entry to the home.

Detective Inspector Dave Cooper said: “This type of burglary is incredibly rare, and we believe the victims were specifically targeted.

“The jewellery is hugely valuable and would be easily identifiable to the owner.

“I am appealing to members of the public to come forward with any information which could help us catch the person or people responsible and reunite the owners with their possessions.

“I also am appealing to jewellers, pawn shops, auction houses and even the man down the pub, if you are offered beautiful, expensive diamond, gold and platinum jewellery at a bargain price, then think twice, as there is a chance it came from this burglary.”

Collection of 63 rare watches stolen in daytime burglary in Barnes

Rare watches worth tens of thousands of pounds have been stolen in a daytime burglary.

Timepieces taken from the Barnes house included a gold-plated Fulgor alarm watch, of which only 50 have been made, a 1956 Rolex Precision and a very rare 1970 Stowa Seatime with a green dial.

Thieves also made off with a 1975 Certina 18k gold watch, which home owner Michael Stuffler, who has been collecting watches for 25 years, inherited from his father.

Police were called at about noon to the Mr Stuffler's home in Berkeley Road, after he returned on May 14 to find two men inside his house. It is believed they broke in through the rear doors.

A total of 63 designer watches and a limited edition Gucci Sloaney bag were also taken by the men, who made their getaway on a scooter stolen during a burglary in April.

Mr Stuffler said: "I have been collecting watches for 25 years which is a long time.

"There have been some really rare pieces and some with sentimental value.

"Two of the watches were given to me by my father who died two years ago and there was one which I bought for my wife when we got married 26 years ago."

The devastated watch collector said he had been trawling internet sites Ebay and Gumtree to see if he could find any of his stolen watches for sale.

The news of the theft was discussed on the internet site Rolex Forums, where watch enthusiasts expressed their sympathies.

One message by forum writer Ally said: “This is terrible. I hope they catch whoever’s done this. It’s quite a collection.”

While watch-fan Numismatist wrote: “This is really sad. I hope it all works out. It’s not so much the watches, it’s all the care and time taken to amass the collections and all the energy put into that.”

One of the burglars was about 6ft and slim, while the second was 5ft 7in and stocky.

Both were wearing black motorcycle helmets and dark clothing and escaped on a grey Aprilia scooter with the registration RX55 XEU, which had been reported stolen from Well Lane, East Sheen, on April 27.

Detective Constable Peter Duke, of Richmond CID, said: “The stolen items are distinctive and particularly identifiable. I am also keen for information relating to the stolen scooter.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Stolen Art Watch, Picasso Electrician and Wife Charged With Theft !!

Picasso Works Were Stolen Couple Charged

$80m In Lost Art May Be Returned To Picasso Family

As reported last December that 271 undocumented works by Pablo Picasso estimated to be worth at least €60 million (£50 million) were discovered in the South of France. Pierre Le Guennec, a retired French electrician and his wife revealed that the paintings drawings and prints, a gift from the artist, had been stored in a garage for over 30 years. The former security system installer, who once worked for Picasso, in his home on the French Riviera, claims that the treasure trove was a gift to him from Madam Jacqueline Picasso, with the knowledge of the master. The estate has other thoughts and the works were seized, pending a lengthily court battle.

The couple have now been arrested and charged with handling stolen goods and face up to 10 years in prison if convicted of the crime.The mystery began when Claude Picasso,son of the artist and head of the foundation named after his father received a letter from a man who said he owned original Picasso pieces and wanted to have them verified for authenticity.Picasso convinced the man to bring the collection to Paris, saying he would be unable to verify it from photographs. The man arrived by car with the paintings in a suitcase and laid them out on a table.“I felt a great surprise, naturally, lots of emotion at the discovery of pieces with which we were not familiar. But also a deep disturbance,” he told French daily Liberation. “Many of these pieces were not dated, which means they never should have left the studio.” The cache, dating from the artist's most creative period from 1900 to 1932, includes previously undocumented notebooks, sketches, plus nine Cubist collages said to be worth €40 million. (£34 million)

Claude Picasso stated, 'To give away such a large quantity, that's unheard-of. It doesn't hold water,' Catherine Bonnici, clerk to the judges at Grasse Criminal Court, confirmed that the Le Guennecs would appear in court later this month. ‘All of this happened nearly 40 years ago, and key witnesses, including Picasso and his wife, are now dead. Technically we are dealing with a maximum prison sentence of 10 years, but it’s going to be a very difficult case to prove.’ Picasso produced more than 100,000 works of art during his long career, but hundreds have been listed as missing, either because they were misplaced, given away or stolen. The estate is now one of the most tightly controlled art industries in the world.

Couple Charged with Stealing 271 Picasso Paintings

A French couple, aged 71, has been charged with stealing 271 Picasso paintings. The paintings were found in the couple's garage and were only found because the couple actually contacted the Picasso estate to get the painting evaluated for authenticity.

It appears that not all of the paintings were stolen, as the couple told police that Picasso and his wife, Jacqueline, gave him the paintings while Picasso was still alive. But there were Picasso paintings found that are known to be stolen from another location.

It sounds like the couple didn't know that some of these paintings were stolen when they acquired them, otherwise why would they contact the estate to verify their authenticity? Unless, due to their age, they had forgotten that they had stolen the paintings or received them illegally. Either way, it will be nice to see the paintings go to the right owner, and the rest be displayed the way they should be for the world to see.

The plot thickened with the addition of a document from 1983 provided by the Picasso Administration, ten years after the supposed "gifts," which proved that Picasso's wife Jacqueline had given 540,000 francs (about 150,000 EUR today) to Le Guennec. The Le Guennecs had not disclosed this gift to investigators when it was discovered.

In addition, authorities have expanded their investigation of Le Guennec's late cousin Maurice Bresnu, Picasso's last driver, who himself had possessed over a hundred of his employer's works. Police seized several works from a recent sale of Bresnu's collection in early June. Le Monde reports that authorities have found "no link" between the cases so far, but notes the unusual connection.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Stolen Art Watch, Detectives Crack Case With Help From Art Dealer !!

Southold detectives honored for cracking art theft case

Two Southold Town Police detectives who were the driving force behind cracking a series of art burglaries on the East End were given Top Cop awards by the Police Reserves of Suffolk County earlier this month.

Detectives Joseph Conway, Jr. and Edward Grathwohl began working on the case in late January, when a caretaker for a Southold home reported that $50,000 worth of oil paintings, lithographs and household furnishings were stolen from the property.

Detective Conway, who was on duty when the call came in, was initially assigned to the case, and Detective Grathwohl joined the investigation in April, after an art dealer in Southold whom he knew reported that he had purchased art but later became suspicious of the seller and learned from his contacts in the art world that the works may have been stolen.

After Detective Grathwohl made contact with the art dealer, he and Mr. Conway arranged a phone call and then a meeting in Southold Town between the dealer and the suspect, leading to the arrest of Angel Palencia, 24, of Medford. Mr. Palencia was later indicted on eight felony counts of burglary in the second degree.

The Southold detectives were assisted in their efforts by detectives from Southampton and East Hampton villages and Shelter Island, where other pieces of art were reported stolen, and by investigators from the Suffolk County District Attorney’s office.

“It was definitely their tenacity that brought this to a successful conclusion. It was a combined effort from the beginning, but their detective work ended up bringing it to a head,” said Southold Police Captain Martin Flatley this week of detectives Conway and Grathwohl. “It was not just the arrest, but they stayed with it until they collected as much of the artwork and property as they could. It’s very rare that you can recover that much merchandise.”

After Mr. Palencia’s arrest and confession on April 6, the officers found much of the stolen merchandise at Mr. Palencia’s home, and the next day recovered several other pieces of art at pawn shops in Nassau County. In total, Mr. Palencia is estimated to have stolen about $650,000 worth of art.

Mr. Palencia, an undocumented worker, had worked as a carpenter and a painter on the East End. While he claimed to have been working alone, District Attorney Tom Spota said in April that it was likely he had help gaining access to the houses. There was no sign of forced entry in any of the burglaries, despite the fact that the houses were locked and their alarms were set.

Southold Police Chief Carlisle Cochran nominated the detectives for the awards, which were given out at a dinner sponsored by the Police Reserves, a group of private citizens who support police efforts, on June 1.

Stolen Art Watch, Sculpture Theft, CCTV, BBC !!!

Sculpture thefts appeal to go nationwide on BBC

COPS will make a TV appeal for information after two bronze sculptures were snatched from an art gallery

The thief struck twice over a three-year period and was only prevented from stealing the last time after staff recognised him and he fled.

Ulverston Sergeant Sara Seath will be talking to Rav Wilding on the new Crimewatch Roadshow at 9.15am next Thursday as they appeal for help from UK viewers to trace the culprit.

During the BBC1 show, CCTV footage will be shown of a man police would like to speak to in connection with the thefts – which have a combined value of £4,100 – from the Old Courthouse Gallery.

Sgt Seath explained how the first incident took place in May 2008, when a man entered the gallery with the appearance of being a genuine customer.

He went upstairs and removed the sculpture from the display, before leaving the premises.

The bronze sculpture is by British-based artist Peter Beard and is worth at least £1,500.

Despite extensive enquiries at the time with CCTV footage, no suspect was identified.

On March 17 this year the same man entered the galley in the company of a female.

They again gave the appearance of being genuine customers, and engaged the shop assistant in conversation.

When the assistant was distracted by another customer, the man removed another bronze sculpture by the same artist, valued at £2,600, and placed it in the female’s bag.

Both then left the store.

The male is described as being in his 40s to 50s and white. He was wearing a dark-coloured jacket, blue denim jeans and a navy beanie hat.

The woman was described as slim, 30 to 35 years old, wearing a dark-coloured jacket, blue denim jeans and black Converse shoes.

She had collar length dark brown curly hair.

On Sunday May 8 at 3.55pm, the man again went into the gallery, but quickly left when he realised staff in the gallery had recognised him.

Despite police attending the scene quickly, the man was not found in the area.

Mangeress of the Market Place gallery, Malgosia Michalska, said: “The incident in March happened on the main floor of the gallery.

“The sculpture was stolen from a high window shelf. There were two person involved, male and a female.

“The male lifted the sculpture down and placed it into a shoulder bag belonging to the female.

“After the theft, they both chatted with the member of staff for a little while, trying to distract her and the colleague downstairs of noticing the theft immediately.”

Sgt Seath, who is heading up the investigation, said: “Despite circulating the image to local shops and galleries within the local area, the suspects haven’t been identified, which leads us to believe that the offenders may be from outside of Cumbria.

“The male suspect has clearly targeted the premises on two occasions three years apart, and has had a further likely attempt thwarted due to the staff recognising him.

Stolen Art Watch, Art Heist Paramilitary Style !!

20 Works Of Art Stolen From Home Of Painter Carlos Alonso

She was with her family. They were beaten and threatened for two hours. The band wore gloves and handies. They took works of other artists, but none of the victim. The haul would be around $ 250,000. Carlos Alonso was assaulted by 5 masked

BY MARTA Plati -

"I just join a huge community: those harassed, robbed and fondled that in our country, unfortunately is a growing community" Clarin said yesterday, with great sadness, Carlos Alonso, one of the most important living painters of Argentina who, on Tuesday night, was beaten and psychologically tortured with her family, at his home in Unquillo, 35 miles northwest of the city of Cordoba.

In a commando-style assault, five masked robbers, wearing gloves, weapons and communication handies, took twenty works of art from the artist's private collection, among which include a drawing of Enea Spilimbergo Lino, who was his teacher and Alonso, who chose to live in Unquillo; valuable works by Antonio Berni, Enrique Policastro, Pedro Pont Vergés and a lithograph of Edvard Munch, Norwegian author of "The Scream", among others.

But, strangely, did not steal anything from the victim.At one point raised a picture of the artist, but backtracked on an order received by handy. Considered a major gallery for Clarín that "the spoils to the $ 250,000 amount."

"We gave all the impression that it was a theft to order. Just joined, one of them pointed a gun at his head and said, 'We came to Buenos Aires for you. We know who you are. Tell us where the Spilimbergo '. "

The two hours of terror for Alonso began about nine o'clock at night. The teacher had dinner with Teresa, his wife, Ludovico, one of his sons and a friend of his. Paul, the son who lives in the family house, was returning from a trip.

"It seems that some jumped the perimeter fence, the property has 5 acres on a hill in the heart of Unquillo-entered the house of home and waited for someone to come out for the rest of the group from entering a pickup truck, rebuilt Paul before Clarín.

Alonso himself continued the story: "Going to Ludovico, who had just fired, and held at gunpoint.

We threw on the floor of living upside down.

We tied up and threatened us shouting. Buenos Aires and Cordoba hear tunes, so we thought it was a mixed band. Then took me to my study, which was the Spilimbergo.

I was tied to a chair and began to stack boxes like bricks, "he told the artist.

Then added: "They looked like thugs.

So neglected was that I complained when they broke the glass of Spilimbergo o: could have damaged it is a portrait on paper that made a girl from a nearby town who was the daughter of German and his name was Marlene Dietrich. "

The robbers were asking for each frame Alonso taking and its value.

Do you hit?Yes, I was punched in the head to tell them where was the silver. That violence was rising. I took where we had about $ 3 000 and 2 000 pesos. They were taken, of course.

Then he was blindfolded with a scarf, "I said, 'Old Man, go to find the medicine because you carry with us." And then, "Or do you prefer us to get your son?".

- What did you do then?(Alonso has a daughter disappeared during the military dictatorship).

In those moments of terror one only thinks in life. Teresa that flutter, that my child is not removed, that the types do not lead us, not to shoot ...

The band stirred every room in the big house: to put upside down the bed. Suddenly, "the less he spoke, it seemed the head and knew something about art, said 'we go'. They went out all at once. They took my son's car (a Peugeot 307 which was abandoned the next morning in the neighborhood of Villa Adela de Córdoba), and also heard the sound of a truck. "

According to Alonso, "all these works are not easy to sell, except to collectors. I clarify that I am not. All exchanges are fruits and gifts of colleagues, teachers and friends. "

Do you suspect someone?We suspect some people who visited the house, some antique, someone who came to offer some wood carving ...

Overwhelmed, but wielding the subtle humor that at 82 years has not lost, the artist was fired with an irony: "No, not steal any of my works, which certainly is disappointing."

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Stolen Art Watch, We've Had The Cowboys, Now For The Indians !!

The crime history of India

Not many people who have seen Raja Ravi Varma’s masterpieces like “Mohini”, which depicts a lady on a swing, and “Dattatreya” and “Riddhi Siddhi”, which portray Ganesha with his consorts, at Delhi’s National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA) know that these prized works of art were nearly lost forever. About nine registered 19th century paintings by the artist from Kerala who died in 1906 were recovered by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in 2003 after a raid in Delhi. After the recovery, the paintings were initially kept with CBI but later given to NGMA where, it was felt, they belonged. What is left with CBI now is images of those paintings which the bureau has proudly displayed in its newly-inaugurated gallery along with the story of how the agency has proved to be the “savior of national heritage”.

The CBI gallery, located on the sixth floor of the bureau’s swanky new 11-storey headquarters, has many other stories to tell and treasures to show. Among them is Kal Bhairav, the 18th century stone artifact featuring a male head with curly hair. This, too, was stolen before CBI recovered it in 2009. The image of an 18th century nutcracker in metal depicting a horse head with big open eyes and a pair of teeth on the upper and lower jaws also adorns the gallery wall. This artifact was recovered from Delhi. Another 19th century antique, a copper water jug with an elephant, was seized in 2005. The originals, like several other seized antiques, are now at the CBI museum in Ghaziabad. A few antiques are also under lock and key at the CBI maalkhana (strong room).

Antiques smuggling, though illegal, is big business in India. Over the years, CBI has recovered hundreds of paintings and ancient stone and metal sculptures. Many of these treasures, often stolen from remote temples in the hills, land up in warehouses in Delhi and Gurgaon, to be smuggled out or illegally auctioned. In 1980, 47 antiques were seized from Delhi. In 2008, the sculpture of Dancing Ganesha was recovered from a warehouse in Delhi from where it was to be exported illegally.

“Another antique stone sculpture seized in 1990 had been put up by the accused on the Internet for sale,” recalls Dharini Mishra, chief information officer, CBI. That was 20 years ago and the man probably didn’t realise that investigating agencies — CBI has a dedicated Antiques Wing to which the police turn when a theft of significant value is reported — had also started tracking thefts on the Internet.

“Many of these recoveries were made during the tenure of Archana Ramasundaram, the first woman joint director in the CBI,” says press information officer R K Gaur who was part of the team that researched such recoveries made by the bureau. Ramasundaram is also part of CBI’s gallery in a section titled “Down Memory Lane” where black and white pictures of some landmark events, like the inauguration of CBI academy in 1996 and the passing out parade of the first batch, are displayed.

Recovered antiques form but one part of the gallery, the walls of which also speak of CBI’s history, its landmark cases and its memorable moments. The first picture to greet a visitor is that of Khan Qurban Ali who headed the organisation, which was then called Special Police Establishment, from 1941 to 1947.

The first big case which the bureau has displayed in the gallery is that of the brutal murder of Deendayal Upadhyaya in 1968. The president of the Bharatiya Jana Sangh — now the Bharatiya Janata Party — was murdered while travelling by the Sealdah-Pathankot Express. His body was found close to an electric pole near the tracks at the Mughalsarai railway station by a leverman. Chilling images of the Bhagalpur blindings in Bihar where the police blinded 31 undertrials by pouring acid into their eyes, the funeral procession of the murdered Harcharan Singh Longowal in 1985 and the trail of destruction left by the Bombay blasts form another part of the gallery. The iconic image of armed troops sitting in jeeps at some distance from the hijacked IC-814 aircraft leads into a brief history of the 1999 Kandahar hijacking.

But it’s the white-collar crimes and scams that occupy a major portion of the gallery where cases handled by CBI are displayed. There’s the Harshad Mehta case of 1991, the fodder scam of 1996 in which Lalu Prasad was named, the DDA Scam of 2002-03, the Stamp Paper Scam of 2004, and the more recent Satyam Scam of 2009. One entire wall is reserved for the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, from the blast to the charge sheet and the conviction.

The agency also has an “Interpol” section which gives a glimpse into how CBI coordinates with international investigating agencies. “We are linked to 188 countries across the world through a secret communication network called I-24/7. It allows us to send messages and top secret information to all these countries simultaneously at the click of a button,” says N S Kharayat, assistant director (Interpol), Narcotics Control Bureau.

The gallery was inaugurated on April 30. “It is open to visitors coming to the CBI headquarters,” says information officer Gaur sitting down to write in a register. “Officially, you are the first visitors.”

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Stolen Art Watch, Rhino Horn, Life Before Viagra !!

Bidders in battle to buy a rhino head

A STUFFED rhinoceros head caused a bidding war amongst Chinese herbalists at a Northumberland auction house.

The rhino head eventually sold for £35,000 when Alnwick auctioneer Jim Railton put it under the hammer on Saturday.

It was sold at the same auction in which a £100 painting hung in a North farmhouse for 50 years fetched £95,000.

Mr Railton had been concerned that the sale of the 19th century head – shot by an ancestor of a well-known, titled, local family – could put him on the wrong side of the law again.

Last year he was prosecuted for advertising an antique chest of drawers which contained a collection of birds’ eggs. He was fined for a breach of wildlife laws intended to protect birds, despite the eggs being decades old.

The auctioneer said he fully supports the worldwide ban on hunting rhinos and the labyrinth of laws and measures designed to protect such endangered species from extinction by poachers.

But last week Defra – the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs – gave the sale the all-clear.

Mr Railton explained: “Safari killing sprees carried out by the Victorians, which included this rhino, would certainly not be condoned today, but as a rule of thumb if it can be proved that the animal was killed and the head mounted before 1947 then you can legally sell such trophies.

“There has, however, been growing speculation within the antiques trade over the past few weeks that current legislation is to be tightened up throughout the EU and that had put me on the horns of a dilemma until Defra said the sale was lawful.

“At the sale on Saturday we had several Chinese telephone bidders battling it out.

“There was a lot of curiosity about the stuffed head and people in the saleroom were caught up in the excitement of the telephone bids. The sale went out live on the internet and I have no doubt there was a large Chinese contingent keeping a close eye on just what was happening and what price it fetched.

“No doubt now the horns will now go to make up some wonderful medicinal concoctions that allegedly cure anything from gout to the perfect lift for an aging libido.”

Also under the auctioneer’s hammer was a Victorian painting that has hung in a the dining room of a Northern farmhouse for almost 50 years and which fetched £95,000.

The oil on canvas, which depicts a view of Liverpool docks, was bought for just £100 in the 1960s.

John Atkinson Grimshaw’s atmospheric work shows figures and carriages on the cobbled dock, moored sailing ships in the background and a row of gas-lit shop fronts in the moonlight.

The detail is such that a clock outside one of the shops shows the time at 7pm.

Mr Railton said: “There was a lot of interest in the painting. It just shows people don’t always know the value of what is hanging on their wall.

Horns stolen from stuffed rhinos at five museums

BERLIN — Thieves have wrenched the horns off stuffed rhinoceroses in at least five European museums in the past few days, apparently with an eye to grinding up the horns to make an Asian potency remedy.

Police in the German town of Bamberg and the Italian city of Florence disclosed the latest two thefts Thursday.

The horns apparently had a black- market value of tens of thousands of dollars. Trade in horn is illegal under world nature protection treaties. Traditional Chinese medicine credits horn dust with curative powers. Some people also believe the dust is an aphrodisiac.

Bamberg's Natural History Museum , a museum of hunting at Gifhorn, Germany, and Hamburg's zoology museum all reported thefts, as did the Florence Natural History Museum.

The Daily Telegraph in London reported a similar theft at the Haslemere Educational Museum in England.

Thieves target museum for rhino head

A THEFT of a rhino head from a museum in Surrey is thought to have been motivated by the hugely valuable trade in rhino horn.

Nothing else was taken by burglars who broke into the Educational Museum in Haslemere, early on May 27 before fleeing after setting off an alarm.

Surrey police are investigating whether the gang could have stolen the head in order to remove its horns and sell them for use in alternative medicines. Meanwhile auctioneers and dealers are urged to keep an eye out for the head, in case it turns up in a saleroom or is offered to a gallery.

The rhino was on display in the mammal collection which houses 250 specimens mostly from England and Africa. It had been an exhibit at the museum since 1929.

Under new CITES guidelines published in February, DEFRA no longer recognise mounted rhino horn trophies as 'worked' items and they are illegal to sell.

Sections of head with horn(s) attached (e.g. such as a pair of horns joined by a section of skin/skull) are also not considered to meet the worked definition, but full taxidermied heads with horn(s) attached, such as this one, are considered to meet the 'worked' definition and can be sold.

That is why whole heads are attractive to thieves, as proved to be the case at Essex auction house Sworders on February 21, when a moth-eaten head of an African black rhino, due to be sold the next day, was stolen in a raid.

It had been estimated at £20,000-30,000.

Man jailed over rare Harry Potter book theft

A man has been jailed after he admitted stealing a limited first edition Harry Potter book from an art gallery.

Kevin McGirr, 40, had been charged with the theft of the rare copy of Harry Potter and The Philosopher's Stone.

The book, worth about £6,000, went missing from the Creative Art Gallery in Woodstock, Oxfordshire, in October.

McGirr, of Oxford Road, Kidlington, was jailed for six weeks after changing his plea to guilty at Banbury Magistrates' Court earlier.

He was also ordered to pay compensation of £250, and £400 in legal costs.

The JK Rowling book was found wrapped in a plastic bag outside a Boots store in Abingdon on 15 November.

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, the first novel in the series, was first published in 1997.

It was later made into a feature film starring Daniel Radcliffe as the young wizard.

Antiques stolen in £10,000 Radwinter church raid

POLICE are appealing for witnesses and information after a £10,000 burglary at St Mary’s Church in Radwinter.

Thieves smashed a stained glass window to get into the church in Walden Road between noon on May 9 and 9.30am on May 11.

They stole two oak tables and a chair, two oak chests, several sets of candelabra and other antique items.

Centre thieves strike as silver price soars

THE day after bullion prices peaked, thieves broke into an antiques centre in Cardiff and escaped with a haul of antique silver valued at thousands of pounds.

Burglars scaled a 10ft fence and smashed a ground-floor window to break into the Pumping Station on Penarth Road, Leckwith, Cardiff, on the afternoon of Wednesday, April 27.

As dealers at the Pumping Station examine their stock to establish what exactly has been stolen, detectives are urging antiques dealers to exercise vigilence.

While prices fell back last week, the high bullion price levels (that peaked the day before the theft at £30 an ounce for scrap silver) may have contributed to the timing of the crime.

PC Mike Brinkworth from Cardiff Bay Police Station said: "We are keen to get a message out to the community as soon as possible, particularly to any antique dealers who might be offered these items for sale." Generally high scrap metal prices have also been linked to the theft of bronze garden statuary and sculpture in recent years

Friday, June 10, 2011

Stolen Art Watch, Down The Hatch !!

Collectors and auction houses warned after theft of £1m vintage wine

The Metropolitan police are appealing for information after vintage wine worth up to £1 million was stolen from a warehouse in Bethnal Green in east London.

A worker at the warehouse, located under railway arches in Cambridge Heath Road, dicovered the break-in on Sunday morning.

Thieves broke through a padlock on the main gates and bent a shutter door to gain access to the warehouse, having disabled alarms and CCTV cameras.

The raiders used a forklift to fill pallets with about 400 cases of mostly vintage wine, and are belived to have used three vehicles to make off following the theft — two white transit-style vans and a lorry with a brown cab and blue sides.

Investigating officer Detective Constable Ash Rossiter said: “The stolen stock is rare and valuable. We would ask anyone with information or who is offered these goods for sale to contact us as soon as possible.

“It may be the aim of those who have stolen it to try to sell it to private collectors or auction houses.”

Some of the wine stolen was owned by private investors, one of whom has offered a £5,000 reward for the return of some of the stolen stock.

Two men aged were arrested yesterday, Wednesday May 25, on suspicion of burglary.

German Lawyers in the Frame
This theft is a mystery, still: in July 2008, eight images and a vase in the value of one million euros from the lamp Bank may disappeared. Twice already, wrong helpers wanted to return the works. But that was so far no light in the dark. The second case comes shortly before the District Court.
Shortly after the audacious coup, two Düsseldorfer lawyers had declared that they had contact with a man who knows where the stolen paintings and the vase. He showed photos of the pictures. To prove that the recorded after the theft, a current newspaper be there shown. The man demanded 300,000 euros for a return of the images. The lawyers offered as a mediator, called 8961 Euro fee for this.
The Bank gave up the dubious business, went to the police. The determined against the lawyers, the man who allegedly owned the images, and a middleman. The investigation against them were dropped, his exact involvement was not determined. The case against one of the lawyers ended with a circulation of money of EUR 18 000. His staff received an evidences, is sentenced to six months on probation. There will be a process only for the man with the photos. Whether he actually knows where the stolen images are, then maybe shows is on 27 July.
Still, the case against a 44-Jährigen, which should also have tried to make money from the theft is open. According to the indictment, he has requested EUR 10 000 for this that he will lead the Bank to the images. He denies that. The investigators now await feedback from France. There, a friend of 44-Jährigen should be asked whether he made the fraudulent phone call.

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Stolen Art Watch, Giorgio Morandi, Italian Cops Were Watching, Faked Car Stop !!

The widow and the monte-en-l'air

A band of thieves was arrested in Italy in possession of a fabulous booty: a dozen paintings by masters stolen at a rich Monegasque resident.
The arrest is worthy of a scene of worship of the film the adventure, it is the adventure. Lino Ventura and Aldo Maccione, is as random a banal traffic that the criminals of history are on the take. None of the two had however the presence of mind to exclaim: " I've stolen the car! " in tribute to the film or to justify the strange loading that authorities have found in their vehicle. Motorists however found another excuse tasty, although somewhat credible.
May 28, the Italian carabinieri stop the car on the outskirts of the city of Monza, near Milan. On board, two 46 men and 50 years. None of them a licence, insurance is not in good standing. Especially, a table is hidden in the trunk luggage. Not any one, since it is a still life of Italian painter Giorgio Morandi, figure figurehead of the artistic current Novecento, estimated cloth to €200,000. " A gift ", swear the thieves as an explanation. Their version does not convince the police, as the two men were not the first communicants CV: one has already been convicted for fraud and the other is fresh out of a prison where he was staying to " offences against the heritage ". Taken information, Morandi canvas is listed in the file of the works of art sought by Interpol and its flight was reported by the public security of Monaco in March of this year.

Ten paintings of masters in a suitcase

Because of this, investigators go back the trail of thieves from tables to Albenga, a town of Liguria close to the French border. There, in a Court of building angle, they discover a container. In celuiu-ci, various creams and objects of all kinds, a red travel brand Samsonite suitcase. In the suitcase, a great booty: a dozen paintings by great masters of the 19th century, unique pieces that have been around the world to be exposed in many museums, as evidenced by labels for famous institutions always glued to the back of their executives. Packed in luggage, investigators are updating the other four still lifes for Morandi, two paintings of Andy Warhol, representing the first President of the People's Republic of China, Mao Zedong, a table of the Cubist painter Fernand Leger, dating from 1935, a painting by the Italian Virginio Ghiringhelli, a portrait of wife of Balthus, and two ethnic Japanese and Indian of the 19th century paintings.
A batch of masterpieces of painting estimated at 2.5 million euros. Small paintings, mostly, " certainly chosen for their reduced dimensions that make it easier to transport and for their inestimable artistic value ", explains Captain Andrea Ilari, Commander of the brigade responsible for research. " This is not easy to sell works, he continues. They are easily identifiable and traceable, with labels on their back, which testify to their passage in the most important European galleries (including the Tate Gallery, London). »

A priceless collection

It is certainly because they had found a buyer for the Morandi that two Italians took the risk of transporting the table in a car. According to the Italian police, it would be an isolated act, unrelated to an organized network. The two men complained were arrested, and their alleged accomplice, a Romanian of 36 years. But the most surprising is that the whole of the collection would have been, according to the journal Monaco-morning, stolen without breaking at a single location: the remains of Paola Folon in Monte Carlo. The Lady is not anyone: widow of Belgian artist Jean-Michel Folon, famous for its posters and his watercolours, she is also the daughter of Gino Ghiringhelli, Director of the famous Milanese Il Milione Gallery and friend of Giorgio Morandi. Great aware of contemporary art, Paola Folon has a very important personal collection. A collection of which it would be so proud that she could not do otherwise that talk, believes the Italian press on the basis of an indiscretion of police. Absent from his home at the time of the flight, the collector should his misadventure to his inability to keep its language, the same source which States that " his pre-race have been fatal ."».