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Saturday, October 27, 2012

Stolen Art Watch, Art Crime Carousel




WeHo Sheriffs bust art thieves

Stolen art works by American masters making their way to a West Hollywood art gallery got a rude welcome last week.
On Wednesday, October 17, 2012, West Hollywood detectives received a tip advising them that a suspect was allegedly trying to sell three pieces of stolen artwork.
The pieces were described as, Andy Warhol screen print titled, “Grevy’s Zebra,” a Warhol screen print titled, “African Elephant,” and a Roy Lichtenstein screen print titled, “Sweet Dreams Baby.”
The informant said that the items had been stored in a stolen vehicle and trailer in the city of Federal Way in the State of Washington.
The Federal Way Police Department confirmed for the WeHo detectives that a vehicle and attached trailer were stolen in the city of Federal Way, in March of 2008. 
The artwork was allegedly stored in the trailer at and since the time of the theft. 
The artwork was valued at $300,000 and the insurance company eventually paid out $276,000 for the loss.
Working quickly, West Hollywood detectives set up surveillance on Hamilton Salway Fine Art at 8678 Melrose Avenue by 1 pm. 
At approximately 3:15 pm, three suspects arrived in a cargo van and entered the business. 
After gaining confirmation that the suspects held possession of the stolen artwork, detectives swooped in to arrest them for receiving stolen property. 

Upon further investigation, the detectives reported finding a handgun and narcotics inside the van.   
The suspects arrested included Michael Breen, age 54, a resident of Port Angeles, Washington, Kristen Eshom, age 42, also a resident of Port Angeles Washington, and Lorrie Ryan, age 49, a resident of Northridge, California.
Mr. Breen was charged with one count of having a concealed weapon in a vehicle and one count of possession of stolen property and is being held without bail.
Ms. Ryan was charged with one count of possession of stolen property.
He appears in court on 10-31 for a pre-trial hearing.
Ms. Eshom was charged with and pleaded guilty to (on 10-19) one charge of possession of narcotics.
No further information could be gathered about Ms. Eshom by  press time, but the District Attorney promised an update.
Her penalty was deferred pending successful completion of a drug rehabilitation program.

Briton arrested over German rhino horn theft

German police said Tuesday that a British woman had been arrested in Spain on suspicion of taking part in what police termed an "unbelievably audacious" heist of rhino horns from a museum in Germany.
The 37-year-old, who was not named, was picked up on the Spanish island of Tenerife on a European arrest warrant and later handed over to authorities in Germany where she is now sitting in custody, police said.
She is suspected of being part of a gang that stole rhino horns worth 50,000 euros ($65,000) from a museum in Offenburg in southwestern Germany in February.
While two people distracted staff at the museum, another two climbed on the display case, removed a rhino head from a wall and smashed off the horns with hammers.
Rhinoceros horn is especially prized in Asia where many consider it to have aphrodisiac and disease-fighting properties.
Similar thefts have occurred throughout Europe, with some museums taking the unusual step of replacing their rhino horns with fake ones to deter robberies.
Rhino horns can fetch between 25,000 and 200,000 euros depending on their size.
Two British members of the gang were sentenced to three years and two and a half years in prison respectively, although their lawyers have appealed the sentence.
Another gang member was sentenced to four weeks in a juvenile detention centre for his part in the heist.

U.S. returns more than 4,000 stolen antiquities to Mexico

MEXICO CITY -- U.S. officials Thursday returned more than 4,000 pieces of stolen and looted pre-Columbian art and artifacts to the Mexican government, the result of 11 investigations.
The recovery of the items, which include statues, hatchets and pottery, came about in different ways, according to information from the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City.
In a Montana case, Homeland Security special agents kept tabs on an art dealer who had paid members of the Tarahumara, a tribe in northwestern Mexico, to rob items from ancestral burial caves in Chihuahua’s Copper Canyon area. The idea was to consign the items in a local gallery.
In a 2009 undercover case, agents discovered a Fort Stockton, Texas, resident in possession of 200 artifacts that had gone missing a year earlier from a museum in the Mexican border state of Coahuila.
A couple of copper hatchets were discovered at San Diego International Airport, having arrived from Sweden. At the Chicago Port of Entry, U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers happened upon a Nayarit figurine.
These far-flung discoveries will come as no surprise to Mexican officials and others who follow the widespread illicit trade in Mexican cultural artifacts.
Noah Charney, the founding director of the nonprofit Assn. for Research Into Crimes Against Art, or ARCA, noted last year that Mexico had reported more than 2 million art objects stolen between 1997 and 2010, according to figures from Mexico’s National Institute of Anthropology.
Charney wrote that the yearly average of stolen items in Mexico surpasses the yearly average in Italy -- the country with the most stolen art reported each year in Europe -- by a factor of five.
The comparison, he added, is probably somewhat flawed, since the Italian pieces tend to be more substantial works and Mexican antiquities “may include fragments or very low-value” items. But the problem is serious enough that the Mexican ambassador to France last year asked for UNESCO to consider strengthening its 1970 Convention on Protection of Cultural Property, which set international standards to help prevent the plunder of precious cultural items.
The return of the Mexican items occurred during a “repatriation ceremony” at the Mexican Consulate in the border city of El Paso.
Tensions over border issues have been running particularly high of late after a number of shootings of Mexicans by U.S. Border Patrol agents. In statements Thursday, officials emphasized the healthy partnership between the two countries, at least when it comes to hunting down and returning stolen art.
Homeland Security Investigations Assistant Director Janice Ayala touted the “teamwork and cooperation” between the countries, while Mexican Consul General Jacob Prado thanked U.S. officials for returning items “which are a part of the cultural heritage and the historical memory of the people of Mexico.”

Basel busts antique smuggling ring

Basel prosecutors say they’ve arrested a 27-year-old Swiss man for receiving stolen antiques mainly from Eastern Europe.
The man is said to have had 14,000 coins and 800 other antiques recovered by officials in Switzerland, Austria, and Germany.
Most of the goods went through Balkan middlemen, and dated from the Roman, Greek or Byzantine eras.
Prosecutors said the Basel smuggler had been suspected for years, and is accused of money laundering, fraud, and multiple counts of violating laws on transferring cultural goods.
Two accomplices in Switzerland are also being charged, but no other details were given.

Fines in major art theft case

A 70-year-old man from the Limburg Walem must pay a fine of fifty thousand euros for involvement in one of the biggest art robbery of the Netherlands. The Rotterdam court sentenced the man Thursday for healing and money laundering. Two other participants each received a fine of ten thousand euros.

The case revolves around nine paintings by Renoir and Pissarro, among others, in 1987 from art trade Noortman in Maastricht were stolen. The 70-year-old prime suspect kept the paintings hidden for years.

When the theft in 2009 was barred, offered the Limburger eight paintings with a 38-year old man from Germany and his 65-year-old mother from Belgium to an insurance company. They wanted a substantial finder's fee for it. The insurer had after the robbery five million guilders paid to the art market and would therefore have an interest in the paintings back, because then at least a portion of the money could be demanded.

After the defendants had offered the paintings, they were arrested. The theft nobody can be prosecuted, but the attempt to sell the paintings. Justice had three years in prison against the defendants demanded.

The paintings were also recovered after the arrests. They are in varying condition. Some paintings were folded and severely damaged. They have now been transferred to the insurance company. The ninth painting is burned according to justice.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Dutch Art Heist, Rotters Rob Rotterdam Reading Girl In October Surprise.............. Update !!



Rotterdam has Eleven Street Gangs involved in crime, a big Turkish Criminal element as well as attracting Eastern European members of the so-called Pink Panthers, Irish Traveller Rhino Horn thieves and the usual drug dealing criminals, Take you Pick. Stolen Triton Art from the Kunsthal Museum Could be traded for drugs from Ah Kong, the shadowy historic Oriental Criminal Grouping.

Matisse missing top right


 

Monet and Picasso among Seven works stolen from Dutch museum

Paintings by artists including Picasso, Matisse, Monet, Gauguin and Freud have been stolen from a museum in Rotterdam.
Seven paintings by some of the world's most famous artists have been stolen from an exhibition in the Netherlands.
They were a Picasso, a Matisse, and two Monets, a Freud, a Gauguin, and a de Haan.

The stolen works are Picasso's 1971 "Harlequin Head"; Monet's 1901 "Waterloo Bridge, London" and "Charing Cross Bridge, London"; Henri Matisse's 1919 "Reading Girl in White and Yellow"; Paul Gauguin's 1898 "Girl in Front of Open Window"; Meyer de Haan's "Self-Portrait," around 1890, and Lucian Freud's 2002 work "Woman with Eyes Closed."

Police in the Netherlands said the works were taken from the Kunsthal Museum early on Tuesday morning.
The museum is showing works from the Triton Foundation as part of its 20th anniversary celebrations.
 The Triton Foundation is a collection of avant-garde art put together by multimillionaire Willem Cordia, an investor and businessman who died last year.

The paintings include Monet's Waterloo Bridge, Picasso's Tete d'Arlequin, Matisse's La Liseuse en Blanc et Jaune and Freud's Woman with Eyes Closed.
Museum spokeswoman Patricia Wessels told the AFP news agency that police were alerted during the night when the alarm went off but that the thief, or thieves, had left the premises by the time police arrived.
Dutch police said the robbery took place at around 03.00 AM (01.00 GMT).
The other stolen paintings are Monet's Charing Cross Bridge, Gaugin's Femme Devant une Fenetre Ouverte, dite La Fiancee and Meyer de Hann's Autoportrait.
"An initial investigation suggests that the robbery was well prepared," a police statement read.
Police are now reviewing videotape footage and calling on any witnesses to come forward.

In a statement, the museum's chairman Willem van Hassel said the museum would be closed on Tuesday.
The Triton Foundation is a collection of avant-garde art and the Kunsthal exhibition was showing its works by more than 150 famed artists, including Paul Cezanne, Salvador Dali, Roy Lichtenstein and Andy Warhol.
Although some of the foundation's works have been on public display in the past, the current exhibition at the Kunsthal was the first time the entire collection had been shown together.
The Kunsthal museum, which means "art gallery" in Dutch, is a display space that has no permanent collection of its own.

A spokeswoman for detectives on the case, Willemieke Romijn, said Wednesday they have some 15 tips from the public, following a late-night, nationally televised appeal for witnesses to the theft from the Kunsthal gallery of works by celebrated artists including Pablo Picasso, Claude Monet and Henri Matisse.
Romijn tells The Associated Press detectives also are studying video surveillance images of the night of the break-in.
Police on Tuesday focused their attention on a rear door that thieves most likely used to get into the gallery before snatching the paintings.

 Update:

Thieves who stole seven paintings from a Rotterdam museum took advantage of an automatic door-unlocking system, the museum has acknowledged.
The Kunsthal museum was responding to criticism after thieves broke in last week and grabbed works worth millions by Picasso, Matisse and Monet, among others.
The museum said in a statement Monday it uses an electronic locking system that is activated after an alarm is triggered, but deactivates again shortly afterward for safety reasons. The thieves waited until the electronic system deactivated, broke a physical lock on an emergency door, and were in and out in less than two minutes. Police arrived in five.
Spokesman Olivier Morot said he couldn't comment further. Police are still analyzing tips and clues in the Oct. 16 heist and have no suspects.

The  heist of paintings including a Picasso and Monets from a Dutch museum could be linked to the seizure of eight tonnes of cocaine in Belgium days earlier, a security expert said.
"A senior police officer called me with the theory that the theft was linked to drug trafficking," Ton Cremers, a former head of security at the world-famous Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, told AFP.
The paintings, worth between 50 million and 200 million euros according to different estimates, may have been taken to repay an underworld debt resulting from the seizure of the massive amount of cocaine in Antwerp just four days earlier.
"It's just a theory," said Cremers, now a museum security consultant, but "the possibility is great."
"In 20 years of this job I have observed very close links between art and drug trafficking," he said.
Cremers declined to say what nationality the police source was, except that it was neither Dutch nor Belgian.
The cocaine seized in the Belgian port city of Antwerp had a street value of 500 million euros ($650 million), one of the biggest hauls ever made in Europe.
Detectives followed the suspected traffickers across the border to Rotterdam where a Belgian trucker was arrested along with four Dutch men.


Read more here: http://www.sunherald.com/2012/10/22/4257647/thieves-gamed-security-systems.html#storylink=cpy

Art Hostage Comments:

Rob Meeson, above, in the frame !!

Art Hostage has been told by an Underworld source the frames may be close by, discarded as they may have tracker devices attached. The vehicle used, possibly a van may have been abandoned without it being torched, so clues could still be available.
More to follow..................

Update:

 Art Hostage Confirmed  leads:

(1) Triton Seven Held (Art) Hostage for release of Jailed Pink Panther members and revenge for the sting that saw Paul Cezanne stolen from Buhrle Collection recovered in Belgrade Serbia earlier this year. The Triton Seven used as get out of Jail free card.

(2) Members of Corsican mafia, Brise de Mer, the Valinco gang, the Venzolasca gang, and the Corsican mob of Marseille.

(3) Drug bust left major debt owed so Triton Seven stolen art used as collateral to cover the debt and receive new drug consignment.

(4) Rathkeale Rovers, Irish Travellers responsible for Rhino Thefts across Europe may have hit Rotterdam, Kunsthal Museum. They are allegedly affiliated to the two Irish men arrested in Switzerland with e120,000 in fakes notes with a Polish driver and also affiliated to thieves who robbed the Fitzwilliam Museum in the UK of 18 pieces of Chinese Jade.

(5) Whilst pursuing the Triton art stolen from the Rotterdam, Kunsthal Museum, Police may come across a stolen Tamara de Lempicka taken some time ago sources reveal.

(6) Lawyer Arthur Van der Biezen, above, could possibly help recover the Triton stolen art but was arrested last time he organized the recovery of some previously stolen artworks in Holland back in September 2008, when a group of stolen paintings taken from The Frans Hals Museum, including Jan Steen's "The Quack" were recovered by Police in a sting operation. Arthur Van der Biezen was arrested but charges were later dropped. He was at the time the lawyer for Underworld Godfather Willem Holleeder. However, this experience had left Arthur Van der Biezen bitter and he has refused so far to talk about, or even speculate if he could help recover the Triton Seven.

(7) Thieves who were caught with the stolen Frans Hals "Laughing Boys" painting last October 28th 2011 by Police in a sting operation could be behind the Kunsthal Museum heist to bargain down their possible jail-time,  just revealed to Art Hostage.

These have all been offered to Art Hostage by Underworld sources and further inquiries are continuing.

Singalong Time !!!

Rotterdam or Anywhere, Liverpool or Rome, Art Theft Has No Borders. The Beautiful South, Home of Art Hostage !!

 

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Stolen Art Watch, Jewel & Art Crime, A Snapshot


Thief who stole $10 mln in valuables arrested in Beirut

BEIRUT: Police have arrested a thief who stole $10 million in valuables from safes across Lebanon.
A statement released Tuesday by the Internal Security Forces said judicial police in Beirut’s southern suburb managed to apprehend a 48-year-old Syrian national who was identified by his initials M.D.
It said a quantity of looted items – jewelry, precious stones, precious watches, antiques, cell phones, pistols and cash – were confiscated from the burglar. They were estimated at $10 million.
“Under interrogation, he confessed that he heads a gang of robbers that has stolen 24 safes from homes and commercial enterprises,” the police statement added.
It said police were in pursuit of the other gang members.
M.D. was referred to relevant judicial authorities and the stolen items were returned to their owners, ISF said.

Thousands of pounds worth of jewellery stolen in raid

 RAIDERS struck at a house in Godshill and stole thousands of pounds worth of jewellery.

Thieves forced the back door open and ransacked the property before stealing a safe, containing a significant amount of expensive jewellery, including a Cartier watch, Dior earrings, Art Deco watch and 12.5 carat diamond.
Other items stolen include a 27 carat diamond necklace containing different shaped diamonds, earrings and other necklaces.
Detectives in the New Forest are investigating the burglary, which happened between 6pm and 10pm on Wednesday, September 26.

 The stolen jewels include one-off items that will not be easy to dispose of, say police.
Investigating officers are appealing to jewellers and other traders to be wary of anyone who makes contact with them offering to sell expensive-looking jewellery.
A Hampshire Police spokesman said: “Officers are also appealing for public assistance in helping them to identify the offenders.
“Has anyone been to the area of Godshill recently and seen a vehicle or people in suspicious circumstances?
“Did anyone pass through the village of Godshill and see a vehicle arrive or leave the area in a hurry?
“Has someone offered you expensive jewellery for sale or has someone you know suddenly shown you some expensive jewellery?”
 
Police are advising householders to use timer switches to activate lights in the house or to activate radios or televisions to give the impression that someone is at home.
As the nights are drawing in, residents are being reminded to pull the curtains or blinds to prevent people looking into their homes from outside.

Centuries-old Japanese scroll stolen from home in Delta

Family hopes the heirloom will be found

 DELTA (NEWS1130) - Delta Police are hoping you'll keep an eye out for a piece of valuable art that may end up sold online or at a flea market.

Constable Ciaran Feenan says a 200-year-old Japanese "Kakejiku" wall hanging scroll -- a family heirloom -- was stolen from a home during a break-in mid-August.


"We believe that it has quite a significant value to it. A dollar figure, I don't know. However, we think that the value is more for the family and what it means to them," says Feenan.


It was stolen from a home on Sunwood Drive near 64th Avenue.


The scroll is about six feet tall and two feet wide. It has wood on the top and bottom; the rest is made of thick Japanese paper. Oil paint depicts a landscape scene with a man looking up at a mountain. On the bottom left corner, Japanese characters are stamped in red ink.


If you know where the scroll is, you're asked to call Delta Police at (604) 946-4411 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477. 

£50,000 of jewellery and currency stolen in Sutton

 Burglars stole a safe containing £50,000 worth of currency and jewellery.

The property in York Road, Sutton was broken into on Wednesday, October 10 between 7.30am and 4.10pm.
They gained entry by smashing a window into the study.
The safe, which was fixed in a bedroom wardrobe, contained Asian jewellery, English and foreign currency as well as passports and bank cards.
These cards were used later the same day around 5pm to withdraw a total of £700 from cash machines at NatWest in Streatham High Road. Two laptops were also taken.

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Stolen Art Watch, Beware, Fitzwilliam Jade Reward Fool's Gold Without Consulting Art Hostage

'Substantial' reward offered in hunt for stolen Fitzwilliam Museum treasures

 A “substantial reward” has been put up to recover £15 million of Chinese artefacts stolen from Cambridge's Fitzwilliam Museum.

The “valuable and culturally significant” treasure was plundered from the Trumpington Road museum in April.
The 18 mainly jade items were taken by three men and a 16-year-old boy who were sentenced last week.
But police still do not know where the stolen items are.
Chief Constable Simon Parr told the News that finding them would be “the icing on the cake” after he praised officers for the investigation.
He said: “It was a good investigation and I am pleased the sentences reflected the seriousness of the offence. We have not yet found the stolen items which have huge cultural significance but our investigations continue.
“It was a good result and finding the artefacts would be the icing on the cake.”
Clement Doherty Adjusters Ltd has placed a full-page advert in Antiques Trade Gazette on behalf of the museum in an effort to alert dealers to the theft.
The advertisement does not state how much the reward is but it can be negotiated.
The items, dating from the Ming and Qing dynasties, include a jade 16th Century carved buffalo, a carved horse from the 17th Century and a green and brown jade carved elephant.
A museum spokesman said: “We see the advertisement as part of the second stage of the investigation, entailing the return of all 18 stolen jades to the museum.”
A 17th Century jade horse from the Ming dynasty was one of 18 items taken by the thieves.
Last week, 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, were each jailed for six years for conspiracy to burgle.
Marvin Simos, 16, of Hanameel Street, Victoria Dock, London, was sentenced to a four-month detention and training order after admitting burglary. He was 15 years old at the time of the raid.
None of the valuable art has been recovered despite worldwide police forces being alerted, as the News reported.
The gang smashed their way into the museum on Friday, April 13 but CCTV checks identified four people heading towards the rear of the museum shortly before the raid at about 7.30pm.
Four people were then seen carrying bags from the museum before heading off in a van which 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.
Art Hostage Comments:

Anyone attempting to claim this so-called reward without consulting Art Hostage, will, I repeat will, be arrested and charged with handling stolen property, as well as not getting, repeat, not getting any of this Fool''s Gold reward. However, with the guidance of Art Hostage the possibility of being paid a fee for information that leads exclusively to the recovery of the Fitzwilliam Jade will be paid and if that is not possible Art Hostage will reveal this before anyone allows themselves to be lured into false sense of security.
Art Hostage has a motto:

"If in doubt, leave it out, walk away, live to fight another day"

Update:

Art Hostage says: The reward is bogus, false and designed to lure people with information in, so when they inquire about the amount, and then ask for an amount, before offering the information, Police, Clement Doherty Adjusters Ltd and Insurers can arrest them, and under threat of criminal charges, using the 2002 Proceeds of Crime Act.

Then they will make the person with the information reveal what information they have. Once the crucial information is obtained by Police,Clement Doherty Adjusters Ltd and authorities, they will recover the Jade and refuse to pay out the person who gave them the crucial information.

However, Art Hostage can make sure these pitfalls are avoided and a fee would be payable, not a reward, a fee, for exclusively giving information that leads to the exclusive recovery of the Fitzwilliam Jade, no arrests, no false reward promises.

Art Hostage would also make sure those with information are protected from scrutiny and warn well before they reveal anything if a fee cannot be negotiated.

Finally, any call to Clement Doherty Adjusters Ltd will be passed directly to Police immediately, forthwith and the Pre-planned undercover operation will swing into action.