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Sunday, September 30, 2012

Stolen Art Watch, Gold Rush, In & Out Before Vault Closes

Robbers hit California State Mining and Mineral Museum

Thieves armed with 'pickaxes' may have taken up to $2 million in gold and gems from the Mariposa museum, which will conduct an inventory to determine losses.

MARIPOSA — Armed robbers may have made off with as much as $2 million in gold and gems from the the California State Mining and Mineral Museum in Mariposa, a parks spokesman said.
A statewide hunt was on for the robbers and the possible loot Saturday after the Friday afternoon robbery. About 4 p.m., multiple robbers dressed entirely in black and wearing face masks and night goggles broke in and threatened a museum curator and a museum guide with what were described to police as pickaxes.
They herded employees into the far end of the faux-mine museum building, then went after the famed Fricot Nugget, an almost 14-pound swirl of crystalline gold believed to be the biggest chunk to survive the Gold Rush, said state parks spokesman Roy Stearns.

The nugget is kept in an iron safe within a vaulted room. When the burglar alarms sounded, the doors to the room automatically started to close. The thieves couldn't get into the safe but managed to escape the building — possibly with other gold and gems.

Within minutes, law enforcement officers swarmed the museum grounds. The Mariposa Gazette posted online "The California State Mining and Mineral Museum has just been robbed."
The suspects are still at large. The museum's treasures have been moved to an undisclosed location, where officials will take inventory to see what is missing.

The possibility of such a heist has been a point of contention among local volunteers who wanted the state Parks Department to turn over control of the museum to them.

The cash-strapped state was slated to pack up the collection for storage by the end of July. Then, on July 20, it surfaced that the Parks Department had $54 million socked away, previously unreported to budget officials; and the museum and its collection remained open, awaiting a final decision.

Gold, gems stolen from Mariposa museum

An estimated $2 million worth of gold nuggets and precious gems were stolen Friday afternoon from the Mariposa Mining and Mineral Museum, a California State Parks spokesman said.
Several robbers threatened museum staff with weapons before stealing the gems and gold, said Park Ranger Superintendent Greg Martin.

Only a rough estimate of the amount stolen can be made until there is an inspection of the museum's inventory, said Roy Stearns, deputy director for communications for California State Parks. Some of the gold is fairly large, about the size of a fist, and will be difficult to sell. The collection at the museum is considered significant, curator Darci Moore said in a recent Merced Sun-Star story.

"Geologists and experts in mineralogy come here to do their research," Moore said.
Moore said more than 20,000 people visit annually and, despite the threat of closure because of state budget problems, the museum's 132-year-old display had remained open.

Moore had told the paper that she fears what will happen to the collection if the museum is closed: Will it be properly protected? Will the largest pieces be shipped to bigger museums, leaving the rest to be forgotten?

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Friday, September 28, 2012

Stolen Art Watch, Jeffrey Jubilant As His Precious Art Heads Home To Santa Monica


Tip leads to stolen paintings, two suspects in San Gabriel Valley

SANTA MONICA - A San Gabriel man and a manager of a Pasadena store selling car stereos and sound systems were arrested for allegedly stealing art valued at $10 million from a Santa Monica home, police said Thursday. Detectives recovered most of the stolen paintings at Al & Ed's Autosound in Pasadena, four at a San Gabriel residence and one in Glendale.
The store manager, 45-year-old Jay Jeffrey Nieto of Canyon Country, and San Gabriel resident, 40-year-old Wilmer Bolosan Cadiz, were arrested Wednesday on suspicion of possessing stolen property.
Pasadena police received a tip where the stolen art was being held and contacted Santa Monica police on Wednesday, Santa Monica Police Sgt. Richard Lewis said in a statement.
He said investigators served a search warrant at Al & Ed's Autosound at 30 S. Rosemead Boulevard and found most of the paintings. Nieto was arrested Wednesday night.
Lewis said additional information led detectives to a residence in San Gabriel where they arrested Cadiz. He allegedly had four of the paintings.
Another painting turned up in Glendale.
The person who had the painting in Glendale was interviewed and cooperating with police, according to Lewis.
Burglars took paintings, two wooden box art pieces, a red 2010 Porsche Carrera 4S, watches, wine and a small amount of cash sometime between 3 p.m. Sept. 12 and 8 p.m. Sept. 14 from a house in the 500 block of 12th Street.
The resident, Jeffrey Gundlach, discovered the break-in when

he returned home from a trip. He offered a $1.7 million reward. Booking records show Nieto was being held at Santa Monica jail in lieu of $20,000 bail. He will be arraigned Friday at the Airport courthouse.
Cadiz was released from custody at 6:50 a.m. Thursday. It's not clear if he is out on bail.
Santa Monica Police are looking for the other stolen items and for additional possible suspects.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Stolen Art Watch, Fitzwilliam Thieves Jailed, Hunt For Jade Continues


Fitzwilliam Museum Jade raiders jailed for 18 years


The gang who stole up to £15 million worth of Chinese artefacts from the Fitzwilliam Museum has been put behind bars for a total of more than 18 years.
Marvin Simos, of Victoria Dock, London, who was 15 at the time of the raid, was given a four-month detention and training order for breaking into the Cambridge University museum and stealing 18 irreplaceable jade works of art.
Steven Coughlan, 25, of Eleanor Street, London, Robert Smith, 24, Rosedale Stables, Swanley, Kent, and a 29-year-old from London, who cannot be named for legal reasons, were each jailed for six years after pleading guilty to conspiracy to burgle at a previous hearing.
None of the valuable art, which has been valued between £5 million and £15 million has been recovered despite worldwide police forces being alerted.
The gang smashed their way into the Fitzwilliam Museum on Friday, April 13, and stole 18 valuable Chinese artefacts. CCTV checks identified four people heading towards the rear of the museum shortly before the burglary at around 7.30pm.
Four people were then seen carrying bags from the museum before heading off in a stolen van. The van had been stolen on Saturday, April 7, at 8.40am from Ellesmere Street, Tower Hamlets, London.
DNA checks from the scene later identified the 15-year-old boy as one of the offenders.
CCTV checks from the previous day (Thursday, April 12) identified Smith, Coughlan and the 29 year old carrying out a reccy at the museum, paying particular attention to the Chinese gallery which housed the stolen artefacts.
Det Chief Insp Jim McCrorie said: "Today's sentencing follows a large scale operation and a great deal of work to ensure those involved in this burglary were caught and convicted.
"Sadly the items, which are of huge cultural significance, have still not been traced but we remain committed to following any new lines of enquiry that could lead to their recovery.”
 The court heard that the amount of compensation being sought was around £60 million to take account of interest.
The loss adjusters are issuing a reward appeal for information leading to the recovery of the stolen property and an advert will appear in the Antique Gazette this week.

Chinese antiques gang imprisoned

Three members of a gang who stole millions of pounds worth of Chinese antiques from a Cambridge museum in an act of 'cultural vandalism' have been jailed for six years each.
The four-strong gang carried out a professionally planned raid to steal the pre-selected items from Cambridge University's Fitzwilliam Museum on April 13.
They took eighteen irreplaceable "culturally significant" jade artefacts, worth an estimated total of between £5 million and £15 million. However, The court heard that the amount of compensation being sought was around £60 million to take account of interest.
The ancient items are believed to have been sold to rich private collectors and may never be seen again.
Passing sentence at Cambridge Crown Court, Mr Justice Fulford described the raid as an act of "cultural vandalism".
The judge said: "This resulted in the loss to the museum and the public at large, not only in this country but across the world, of pieces of incalculable cultural significance and many millions of pounds in monetary value."
Steven Coughlan, 25, of Gypsies Residential Site, in Eleanor Street, Bow, east London, Robert Smith, 24, of Rosedale Stables, Swanley, Kent, and a 29-year-old man from London, who cannot be named for legal reasons, will each serve six years after admitting conspiracy to burgle.
Marvin Simos, 16, of Hanameel Street, Victoria Dock, London, admitted burglary. He was sentenced to a four month detention and training order.
The haul has never been recovered and some of the items may have been damaged as the gang fled, the court heard.
David Scrase, acting director of the Fitzwilliam, said in a statement read to the court that the raid had damaged the museum's precious reputation for "guarding treasures".

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Stolen Art Watch, Whipped Wenlok Wings Its Way Home

Stolen Wenlok Jug from Luton 'recovered in Surrey'

Wenlok Jug  
The Wenlok Jug was taken from a museum in Luton

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A 14th Century Wenlok Jug worth £750,000 that was stolen from a Luton museum, has been found, police believe.
The jug was taken from the Stockwood Discovery Centre in Luton on 12 May, but has turned up in Surrey.
The bronze creation is decorated with coats-of-arms and inscribed with the words "My Lord Wenlok."
Bedfordshire Police said experts from the museum are due to examine the jug to determine whether it is the genuine article, on Wednesday.

 Following an in depth investigation the jug, which was valued at £750,000, was discovered at a property in Tadworth, Surrey, in the early hours of Monday morning. Two people were arrested at the location. One man, 23-year-old Ronald Nash, has been charged with handling stolen property and will appear at Luton Magistrates Court today. The second has been released on police bail pending further enquiries.

It is thought the jug was made for either William Wenlock, who died in 1391 and was canon of St Paul's Cathedral, or his great-nephew John, the first Lord Wenlock, who was a major figure in the 15th Century.
Temporary export ban Of two people arrested in connection with its theft, the force said one has been charged with handling stolen property and the other has been released on bail.

Det Sgt Barry Townson, who is investigating the burglary, said: "We are, of course, delighted that the jug has been recovered and will be returned to its rightful home but the investigation continues into how it came to be in Surrey and who was responsible for the burglary. I would like to re-appeal to anyone with information about the burglary to come forward."

The jug was stolen during an overnight break-in over a weekend in May. A £25,000 reward was offered and the case was featured on the BBC's Crimewatch programme.
A Stockwood Discovery Centre spokesman said: "We are thrilled that the Wenlok Jug has been successfully recovered and would like to thank Bedfordshire Police for their diligence and hard work over the course of the investigation. We look forward to this irreplaceable piece of local history returning to Stockwood Discovery Centre and the community of Luton."

In 2005, the jug was nearly sold abroad, but a temporary export ban provided the opportunity for Luton Museum to raise the £750,000 needed to buy it.
 The rare historical artefact was stolen in a smash and grab raid from the Stockwood Discovery Centre, Luton, in May but found in a garage lock up in Tadworth in Surrey after police raided a nearby house.

 Apart from some minor abrasion on the jug’s spout and a few scratches and marks on its main body, the artefact seems to have been returned relatively unscathed and Ms Perkins says that no restoration work will be carried out on it as the theft has become part of the history of the piece.

Det Insp Martin Peters from Beds Police said: “An extensive police operation has been under way to recover the jug since it was taken in May and we executed some warrants in Tadworth in Surrey in the early hours of Monday morning. Two people were arrested and the jug was found in a lock-up garage nearby. One of those people has been charged with handling stolen goods.”

> Ronald Nash, aged 23, of Tadworth in Surrey, appeared at Luton Magistrates Court yesterday morning charged with handling stolen property. A second 47-year-old man has been released on bail pending further enquiries.

Stolen bust of Benjamin Franklin recovered in Maryland

Bust of Benjamin Franklin  
The bust may have been cracked on the breastplate

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A rare bust of US founding father Benjamin Franklin has been found nearly one month after it was stolen from a home in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
The $3m (£1.8m) piece was recovered when police arrested a cleaner who had worked at the house it was taken from.
It was stolen on 24 August from a stand in the living room of a home in the affluent neighbourhood of Bryn Mawr.
The sculpture is one of three known to have been made in 1778 by Jean-Antoine Houdon when Franklin visited Paris.
The FBI confirmed Friday's arrest of Andrea Lawton, 46, and the recovery of the bust, which is 28in (71cm) tall and weighs 25lb (11kg).
Ms Lawton, who reportedly had the sculpture in a duffle bag, was arrested after getting off a bus to Elkton, Maryland, from her hometown of Mobile, Alabama.
According to court documents, the suspect, also known as Andrea Gresham, faces charges of theft, fraud and interstate transportation of stolen property.
She is due in court on Wednesday for a bail hearing.
Ms Lawton was fired on 21 August from a cleaning company that worked at the home of a lawyer, George D'Angelo, Reuters news agency reported.
Employees saw her three days later driving away from the property in a vehicle.
Mr D'Angelo, 85, said he believed the breastplate of the sculpture was cracked, but had not been able to check the work of art because the FBI was testing it for fingerprints.
"I think it can be repaired," Mr D'Angelo told the Associated Press. "I hope so. It would be ghastly if it can't."

Monday, September 24, 2012

Stolen Art Watch, Santa Monica's Jeffrey Gundlach Is Standing On The Shoulders Of Giant's With Truly Sincere Reward Offer

Several of the paintings stolen from the Santa Monica residence between Sept. 12-14 while the victim was away on a trip.
Several of the paintings stolen from the Santa Monica residence between Sept. 12-14 while the victim was away on a trip.

Up To $1.7 Million Reward On Offer For Santa Monica Art Robbery Information

A reward of up to $1.5 million is now being offered for information in the Santa Monica home heist where more than $10 million was stolen from the home of Jeffrey Gundlach, founder of DoubleLine Capital in Los Angeles.
Gundlach held a press conference today at 1 p.m. at his downtown LA office where he spoke of the increased reward that stems from the robbery that took place sometime between Wednesday, Sept. 12 at 3 p.m. and Friday, Sept. 14 at 8 p.m. in the residence on the 500 block of 12th Street in the north of Montana neighborhood.
Thieves stole his red 2010 Porsche Carrera 4S, high-end art, and luxury watches while he was away on a trip.
Last week, an assistant for Gundlach announced a $200,000 no questions asked reward was being offered for information leading to the recovery of these stolen items and urged anyone with information to contact police.
Today, Gundlach announced he would offer a $1 million reward for the return, or information that leads to the return, of his Piet Mondrian painting if it is undamaged.
This oil painting is titled “Composition A En Rouge Et Blanc” and is from 1936.
He said he would also offer an additional $500,000 reward for the successful return, or information that leads to the return, of his Jasper Johns painting called Green Target from 1956, stating it too must be undamaged.
He said these two specific rewards would be on top of the $200,000 reward already on offer.
“Previously we had announced a $200,000 reward for information leading to the successful recovery of the artwork undamaged,” Gundlach said at the press conference. “That reward remains in place as an overarching reward for information leading to the successful recovery of the property in conjunction with this robbery.”

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Stolen Art Watch, Hot Art Sizzles To Staebler Award








Joshua Knelman’s Hot Art wins Edna Staebler Award

 Toronto writer Joshua Knelman has won this year’s Edna Staebler Award for Creative Non-fiction for Hot Art: Chasing Thieves and Detectives Through the Secret World of Stolen Art (Douglas & McIntyre).

The $10,000 award, administered by Wilfrid Laurier University, will be presented on Nov. 13 in Waterloo, Ontario.
In a press release, award juror and Laurier professor Ute Lischke called the book “a hugely satisfying and meticulously researched real-life detective story that will surprise and intrigue you.”

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Stolen Art Watch, Santa Monica Art Heist, Calling Robert K Wittman

Thieves snatch $10million haul of fine art, jewellery and a Porsche from home of wealthy banker dubbed the 'Bond God'

  • Financier Jeffrey Gundlach was on business trip when his home was raided
  • Stolen art includes work by some of America's finest painters
  • Thieves also took his Porsche, wine and a collection of valuable watches
  • Gundlach has offered $100,000 reward for return of his property

A haul of art worth more than $10 million has been stolen from the home of a wealthy Californian banker known as the 'Bond God.'
Pieces by some of finest artists of the 20th Century, including celebrated Dutch painter Piet Mondrian, were among the 13 works snatched from the Santa Monica residence of Jeffrey Gundlach.
The thieves also took Mr Gundlach's Porsche, expensive watches and wine during the raid, which is thought to be one of the most costly of its kind on a private home.
Valuable: Among the pieces stolen was this unusual work (pictured) by the Canadian-born artist Philip Guston
Theft: Art by some of the finest painters of the 20th Century were taken during the raid, including this piece (pictured) by the Canadian-born artist Philip Guston
Piece of stolen art by Piet Mondrian
Stolen art work by Guy Rose
Valuable: Also taken was an eye catching piece by the Dutch artist Piet Mondrian (pictured left) and a work by the Impressionist painter Guy Rose (right)
Raid: This piece by American landscape painter William Wendt was part of the stolen haul
Raid: This piece by American landscape painter William Wendt was part of the stolen haul

Santa Monica Police have published pictures of the art work in a bid to track the pieces down, while Mr Gundlach has offered a $100,000 reward for the return of his property.
$1,000 is also being offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those who carried out the raid, according to Santa Monica police.
The theft took place between 3 pm last Wednesday and 8 pm on Friday while the owner was away from his Santa Monica home.
Among the watches stolen were high-end pieces by Breitling, Tag Heuer and Philip Patek, while the car stolen was a red 2010 Porsche Carrera 4S.
Jeffrey Gundlach
Stolen artwork by Joseph Cornell
Victim: Among the art work stolen from the home of financier Jeffrey Gundlach (pictured left) were pieces by the American artist Joseph Cornell (an example of which is pictured, right)
The items are believed to have been taken from different rooms within the house.
The haul included a painting by the Expressionist artist Richard Diebenkorn and two glass-fronted boxes by the American Surrealist artist and sculptor Joseph Cornell.
A colourful landscape by William Wendt known as the 'Dean of Southern California landscape painters,' was part of the stolen haul.
Work by Impressionist Guy Rose and landscape artist Hanson Duvall Puthuff were also taken, as well as pieces by Abstract Expressionists, including Johns, Philip Guston and Franz Kline.
One of the most eye catching pieces stolen was by Mondrian, who became famous for the geometrical coloured boxes used in his work.
Mr Gundlach, who is CEO of investment firm DoubleLine Capital, is one of the most successful bond and mutual fund investors in the US.
His firm has assets of over $30bn.
The financier, who is in his 40s, was fired from his former company in 2009 after he was found to have breached his 'fiduciary duty' but was awarded $67m in back pay.
Anyone with information on the theft or the whereabouts of the stolen items should contact Santa Monica Police or call Crime Stoppers.

Stolen artwork by Jasper Johns
Stolen artwork by Franz Kline
Return: A $1,000 reward has been offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those who stole the art work - which included this piece by Jasper Johns (pictured left) and Franz Kline (right)

Santa Monica: The art work was stolen from a home in Santa Monica, California
Santa Monica: The art work was stolen from a home in Santa Monica, California

Art Hostage Comments:

Memo to Mr Jeffrey Gundlach.

Do yourself a huge favor and get Robert K Wittman on the horn and he will be on the Red-Eye to you. This will lead to the recovery of your stolen art quicker than using any other resource.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Stolen Art Watch, Renoir Recovery, Reach For Robert Wittman

New Top Ten Art Crime
Reward Offered for Stolen Renoir Painting

An oil painting by French Impressionist Pierre Auguste Renoir stolen from a Houston home last year—and estimated to be worth $1 million—is the newest addition to the FBI’s Top Ten Art Crimes list.

The painting, Madeleine Leaning on Her Elbow with Flowers in Her Hair, was stolen during an armed robbery on September 8, 2011. The homeowner was watching television when she heard a loud noise downstairs. When she went to investigate, she was confronted by an armed man in a ski mask.

“We hope that adding the Renoir to the FBI’s Top Ten list and publicizing the reward of up to $50,000 for information leading to the recovery of the painting will prompt someone to come forward,” said Peter Schneider, a sergeant with the Houston Police Department who is a member of the FBI’s Violent Crimes Task Force in Houston.

Information about the painting has been included in the FBI’s National Stolen Art File, as well as other similar online tools—including the Art Loss Register and Interpol’s Works of Art database—that alert art dealers, gallery owners, and auction houses about missing and stolen artwork.

“If the thief tries to place the painting with a reputable dealer or gallery, or tries to sell it at auction, members of the art community here and overseas who regularly check these databases will see that the artwork has been stolen and will alert the FBI,” said Bonnie Magness-Gardiner, who manages the Bureau’s art theft program. “Our goal is to provide information about this theft to the widest audience possible,” she said.

Renoir, a master Impressionist, painted Madeleine Leaning on Her Elbow with Flowers in Her Hair in 1918. The canvas size is 50.17 x 41.28 centimeters, and the artist signed the oil portrait in the lower right corner. The painting was taken with its frame intact from the stairwell where it hung.

The masked robber, who forced entry through the back door of the home, is described as a white male, 18 to 26 years old, who weighs about 160 pounds and is approximately 5’-10” tall. He was armed with a large-caliber, semi-automatic handgun.

Sgt. Schneider said that while Houston has had its share of art crimes, few have been as high-profile as the theft of the Renoir. He added that the thief would likely try to sell the painting in a larger art community like New York or Los Angeles, or possibly overseas.

The FBI established the Top Ten Art Crimes list in 2005. Since then, six paintings and one sculpture have been recovered, including a Rembrandt self-portrait and another Renoir work titled Young Parisian stolen from Sweden’s National Museum. The current list may be found on our art theft program page listed below.

We need your help: Anyone with information about the stolen Renoir is encouraged to contact their local FBI office or the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate, or to submit a tip online at A private insurer is offering up to $50,000 for information leading to the recovery of the painting.

Art Hostage Comments:

Look, listen & Learn.

Art Hostage urges those who may have inside information that will lead to the recovery, I repeat just the recovery of the Houston Renoir to contact Robert Wittman at the link shown below

This is the retired FBI Art Crime Team founder, not the serving FBI Art Crime Team Leader, which is important to know as Robert Wittman now works in the private sector and therefore does not have the burden of Public office as a Federal FBI Agent, so he can be much more pragmatic and his approach is purely one of recovery.

Meaning, if those with inside information contact Robert Wittman he will be able to guide you through the process of recovery without working as an Undercover FBI Agent tasked to sting and arrest. Robert Wittman's primary focus is one of pure recovery and he is in a position to offer the $50,000 reward as well as protect those who may have inside information that leads exclusively to the recovery of the Renoir.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Stolen Art Watch, Graham Harkin Pays Token Gesture For Art Crime Spree

Court hears Levens Hall clock theft man made £600,000 from targeting historic houses

A CAREER criminal involved in the theft of a nationally important antique clock from Levens Hall made £600,000 by targeting that and some of England’s other most historic houses, a court has heard.

Graham Geoffrey Harkin, 59, joined a tour of the stately home so he could decide which items should be stolen.

A few days later, on September 19, 2009, accomplices broke into the house and stole several antique pieces, including a 300-year-old clock, made by Thomas Tompion.

Harkin might have got away with it, Carlisle Crown Court heard, if he had not contacted Levens owner Hal Bagot, saying he could recover the clock for a £25,000 reward.

As a result police set up a ‘sting’ in which Harkin was arrested.

And then they discovered he had been responsible for burglaries and thefts in other parts of the country too.

Last year Harkin was jailed for nine years after pleading guilty to burgling two historic houses — Longner Hall in Shropshire, and Firle Place, a country estate in Sussex, from which he took porcelain worth about £1 million — and handling the clock stolen from Levens Hall.

Two other charges — burgling a National Trust property in Cornwall and stealing a £50,000 sundial from Dalemain House, near Penrith — were left lying on the court file and were not proceeded with.

Harkin. of Chestnut Walk, Wakefield, Yorkshire, was back at Carlisle Crown Court on Friday for a hearing under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

He admitted making £600,000 from his crimes but the judge accepted that he could be made to pay back only £10,000 of his profits, since his only realisable asset is a £10,000 share of the house he co-owns with his wife.

Nearly £6,000 of that will have to go to paying off another Proceeds of Crime order made after a series of similar crimes in West Yorkshire.

If he fails to pay within six months he will go to prison for an extra four months.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Stolen Art Watch, Burglars Busted In Bath

£40,000 antiques haul recovered in police raids in and around Bath

More than £40,000 worth of antiques stolen during burglaries across Bath and the wider area have been discovered during police raids this week.

Officers working on the Operation Relentless campaign carried out warrants in the city and in Midsomer Norton on Monday and arrested three men on suspicion of burglary and handling stolen goods.

They also recovered almost 100 items of stolen property, including £40,000 worth of antique furniture which was taken from a property in St James’s Square at the weekend.

This included a matching pair of 18th century marble-topped tables and a 19th century wooden box containing glasses and decanters.

Police have also found a carriage clock, worth more than £4,000, which was stolen from a house in Forrester Road, in Bathwick, back in August while the owners were on holiday.

It was among around 80 other suspected stolen items seized from a house in Midsomer Norton and detectives are now trying to work out where they originally came from so they can be returned to the rightful owners.

Det Chief Insp Nick Papuca, of Bath CID, said he was pleased with how the first few days of Operation Relentless had gone.

He said: “This was a very successful start and sends out the clear message that we will be relentless in tracking down and dealing with people who commit serious acquisitive crimes.

“These people cause disruption and misery in our communities and we will be running numerous and frequent operations to disrupt their activities and bring them to justice.”

The three arrested men have been bailed pending further inquiries.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Stolen Art Watch, Faberge Eggs, Aviazovsky Painting and Currency Stolen, I'm Not Mukhin About

Aivazovsky and Faberge eggs stolen from Russian collector

A painting by famed Russian seascape artist Aivazovksy, and two genuine Faberge eggs have been stolen from a private collector in St. Petersburg.

­The apartment of Vladimir Mukhin, 57, was robbed between September 8 and 10. The criminals escaped with several millions roubles in foreign currency, jewelry, several paintings and two Faberge eggs, decorated with gold and precious stones.

The owner of the apartment reported the theft to police on Tuesday. He claims to have lost 5 million roubles (around $157,000), around $30,000, and 3000 euro in cash along with several rare coins.

Police are now trying to estimate the exact sum of the collector’s loss.

Painter Ivan Aivazovsky is highly acclaimed and earlier this year his 1856 work ‘View of Constantinople and the Bosphorus’ has sold for record $5.2 million at Sotheby’s.

The Faberge eggs are also a rarity as the jeweler only produced them between 1885 and 1917. The most expensive egg was presented in 1913, and would have cost around $3 million today.