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Thursday, December 18, 2014

Stolen Art Watch, To Live & Die In L.A. Encino Art Heist Cracked Courtesy Of "The Donald" Hrycyk That Is !!

Paintings in $10-million Encino heist recovered

Nine of 12 paintings stolen from a Los Angeles home in 2008 are recovered by authorities
Paintings worth $10 million were quietly taken from the home of an elderly Los Angeles couple
For six years, the mystery surrounding one of the largest art heists in Los Angeles history baffled police. Then, a shadowy figure by the name of "Darko" surfaced in Europe.
Darko held himself out as a fixer for someone in California wanting to peddle the paintings. The items, police knew, had been stolen from an Encino home in summer 2008. The collection included works by Marc Chagall and Diego Rivera and was worth an estimated $10 million.
The discovery led undercover FBI agents to pretend to be interested in buying the art. They arranged for a meeting at a Brentwood hotel.

There appeared Raul Espinoza, who was arrested after he tried to sell the agents the artworks, according to a search warrant filed in court this month. Authorities recovered nine of the 12 paintings, the warrant said.
The return of the stolen works — no small feat in the world of art theft, where recovery rates are low — marks a significant victory for investigators. The burglary had been swift, and there were few clues.

At the home where the dozen works were part of a multimillion-dollar art collection owned by an elderly couple, caretakers normally shuffled through on a round-the-clock basis.
The couple, one of whom was 88 at the time of the theft, had gained their wealth through real estate investments.
On the morning of Aug. 23, 2008, the caretaker on duty had left for what she said was a 49-minute period to buy groceries at Gelson's.
The home was equipped with a security system, but the couple's children told investigators that the alarm wasn't functioning. Every entryway was locked except for the kitchen door on the side of the home.
When the caretaker returned just after noon, the paintings that had hung on the hallway and living room walls were gone, frames and all.
The couple, inside their bedrooms, hadn't heard the thief or thieves. And police weren't called to the home until the following morning, according to a police report.
Among the stolen works were Emil Nolde's "Figur mit Hund" (Figure With Dog), 1912; Lyonel Feininger's "Fin de Seance," 1910; Chaim Soutine's "La Vieille Dame au Chien" (Old Woman With Dog), 1919; Soutine's "La Femme en Rouge" (Woman in Red), 1926; Kees van Dongen's "Alicia Alanova," 1933; and Hans Hofmann's Untitled (known as "Blue Bottle"), 1947.

Several works of art and paintings worth millions of dollars were left behind.
What led investigators to Darko is unclear. Reached Wednesday, Det. Donald Hrycyk of the Los Angeles Police Department's art theft detail declined to say whether anyone else had been arrested or if the remaining artworks had been found.
But in the search warrant, filed Dec. 5, Hrycyk said he suspected "the original burglary could not have been accomplished without the assistance of inside help from one of the employees who worked for the victims at the time of the crime."
Hrycyk wrote that he believed Espinoza, who also goes by the alias Jorge Lara, knew the insider.
During the Oct. 23 meeting in the hotel, Hrycyk watched and listened to the negotiation between Espinoza and undercover agents through a hidden camera in the hotel room, he wrote in the warrant.
The agents were offering $700,000 for nine pieces. Espinoza tried to peddle three additional artworks to the agents, including one painting that matched the description of an Endre Szasz piece taken from the Encino home, the search warrant said. Espinoza used "his cellphone to call confederates to signal them during the operation," Hrycyk wrote in the document.
Espinoza, 45, was arrested at the Luxe Sunset Boulevard Hotel, according to arrest records. He has been charged with one count of receiving stolen property. He pleaded not guilty at an Oct. 27 arraignment and remains jailed at the Pitchess Detention Center in Castaic. His bail is $5 million.
Espinoza's relationship to Darko is unclear, authorities said.
This month, investigators sought the warrant to search Espinoza's cellphone, believing that photos and electronic communications could bring the long-running investigation closer to an end.
Twitter: @MattHjourno

Major L.A. art heist: Recovered art worth over $12 million, FBI says

Art worth more than $12 million was recovered in one of the biggest art heists in Los Angeles history, the FBI said Friday.
The works were stolen in 2008 from an Encino couple, who did not live to see the recovery of the works. The husband died within four months of the crime, authorities said, and his wife died earlier this year.

A dozen paintings were stolen from the elderly couple's multimillion-dollar collection. The works were taken from the couple's home in broad daylight while they were in their bedrooms nearby.
Among the stolen works were Emil Nolde's "Figur mit Hund" (Figure With Dog), 1912; Lyonel Feininger's "Fin de Seance," 1910; Chaim Soutine's "La Vieille Dame au Chien" (Old Woman With Dog), 1919; Soutine's "La Femme en Rouge" (Woman in Red), 1926; Kees van Dongen's "Alicia Alanova," 1933; and Hans Hofmann's Untitled (known as "Blue Bottle"), 1947.
See more on the news conference below.
In a news conference Friday, agents said there are three pieces yet to be recovered. One of them is believed to be by Hungarian artist Endre Szasz. The FBI said the value of the artwork ranks as the greatest recovered in recent history.
A reward of $25,000 was offered for any more information regarding the rest of the stolen art.

Hundreds of thousands of pounds of valuables stolen from Christie's HQ in raid

Antiques and jewellery believed to be worth hundreds of thousands of pounds have been stolen from one of the world’s top auction houses.
Valuable works of art, including rare pieces by Faberge - the court jewellers of Imperial Russia - were taken from Christie’s headquarters in Piccadilly.
Police are probing the theft of the ‘high-value items’ two weeks ago, but there have been no arrests and none of the stolen items have been recovered.
A twice-yearly auction of Russian art at Christie’s last month made £20 million and saw many valuable items by Faberge go under the hammer, including a crystal vase that fetched £314,500.
The stolen items were taken from the auction house in King Street on the night of Sunday December 7.
Staff alerted the police after the burglary was discovered the following morning.
Scotland Yard’s elite art and antiques unit informed the British Antique Dealers’ Association.
A Scotland Yard spokesman said: “We can confirm that officers from Westminster are currently investigating a burglary at business premises which is believed to have occurred between 6pm on Sunday December 7th and 8am on Monday December 8th.
“A number of high value items were taken. Inquiries are continuing. There have been no arrests.”
A Christie’s spokeswoman said: “Christie’s is helping the Metropolitan Police to investigate a recent, isolated incident at its London offices.”

Nine paintings worth $10 million that were stolen in one of the 'largest art heists in Los Angeles history' are recovered as the thief tried to sell them

  • The paintings were recovered in an FBI sting operation in which a suspect identified as Paul Espinoza, 45, was arrested as he tried to sell the works to undercover FBI agents
  • The stolen paintings included works by Hans Hofmann, Chaim Soutine, Arshile Gorky, Emil Nolde, Lyonel Feininger and Kess van Dongen
  • The artwork, including pieces by Marc Chagall and Diego Rivera, is worth millions and was taken while the couple was at home
  • Both art experts and authorities described the art theft as one of the largest in Los Angeles history 
Authorities have recovered $10 million worth of art — including paintings by Chagall and Diego Rivera — that were stolen in one of Los Angeles' largest art heists.
The FBI and Los Angeles Art Cop Donald Hrycyk recovered nine pieces of art at a West LA hotel in October, and a man was arrested, the Los Angeles Times reported.
The works, including Chagall's 'Les Paysans' and Diego Rivera's 'Mexican Peasant,' were among a dozen swiped from the Encino home of a wealthy real estate investor on the morning of Aug. 24, 2008, by a crook or crooks who entered through the unlocked kitchen door, police said.
Recovered art: Federal agents and police in Los Angeles have recovered nine paintings worth millions of dollars that were stolen from the home of an elderly couple six years ago, including works by Marc Chagall and Diego Rivera
Recovered art: Federal agents and police in Los Angeles have recovered nine paintings worth millions of dollars that were stolen from the home of an elderly couple six years ago, including works by Marc Chagall and Diego Rivera.

Found: The paintings were recovered in an FBI sting operation in which a suspect identified as Paul Espinoza, 45, was arrested as he tried to sell the stolen artwork to undercover agents
Found: The paintings were recovered in an FBI sting operation in which a suspect identified as Paul Espinoza, 45, was arrested as he tried to sell the stolen artwork to undercover agents
The elderly residents were in their bedrooms and heard nothing, police said.
The case grew cold until this September, when Detective Donald Hrycyk of the LAPD's art theft detail received a tip that a man in Europe known as 'Darko' was seeking buyers for the stolen art, the Times said.
Darko 'indicated that he was merely a middleman for an unknown person in possession of the art in California,' Hrycyk wrote in a search warrant.
During the ensuing undercover operation, Raul Espinoza, 45, was contacted at the hotel, where he tried to sell the estimated $10 million worth of paintings for $700,000 cash, prosecutors contend.
Three stolen paintings remain missing.
Espinoza pleaded not guilty in October to receiving stolen property and remains jailed on $5 million bail.
Messages seeking comment were left for his public defender, Aparna Voleti, on Wednesday.
The Times said Hrycyk sought permission this month to search Espinoza's cellphone for possible photos or communications that could reveal the identities of the thieves involved in the original burglary.
Not over: The FBI investigation of the art theft is continuing and additional suspects are being sought. Authorities are also are looking for three additional paintings stolen from the couple's home in the Encino neighborhood of Los Angeles in August 2008 in a daylight art heist that ranks among the biggest in the city's history
Not over: The FBI investigation of the art theft is continuing and additional suspects are being sought. Authorities are also are looking for three additional paintings stolen from the couple's home in the Encino neighborhood of Los Angeles in August 2008 in a daylight art heist that ranks among the biggest in the city's history

Friday, December 12, 2014

Stolen Art Watch, Paul (Gauguin) The Other One, As $50 Million Stolen Art Returned To Handler, Buon Natale !!

Italian pensioner awarded ownership of Gauguin stolen from London flat

Rome authorities declare Italian pensioner can keep £28 million Gauguin masterpiece stolen from London flat of Marks and Spencer heiress more than 40 years ago

A Carabinieri stands next to the two paintings stolen in London in the 1970s by French artists Paul Gauguin  
A Carabinieri stands next to the two paintings stolen in London in the 1970s by French artist Paul Gauguin "Fruits sur une table ou nature au petit chien", (L) and Pierre Bonnard "La femme aux deux fauteuils"

An Italian pensioner who unknowingly acquired a Gauguin masterpiece after it was stolen from a London flat more than 40 years ago has been awarded ownership of the painting, which is estimated to be worth £28 million (35 million euros) by Rome authorities.
The man, who has requested anonymity out of fear that the painting could attract thieves, now plans to sell it and hopes his life will be transformed after decades of working gruelling night shifts in a Fiat factory.
The pensioner bought the 1889 Gauguin painting, entitled "Fruits on a table or still life with a small dog", at an auction in Turin in 1975, along with a work by another French artist, Pierre Bonnard, entitled "Woman with two armchairs", now thought to be worth around 600,000 euros.
Identified only as Nicolo, he plans to take his wife on the honeymoon they could never afford – a journey between Trieste, in Italy's north-east, and Vienna.
"I'm already in negotiations over the sale of the Gauguin," the 70-year-old told La Repubblica newspaper. "Lots of private collectors have contacted me and I'm considering the offers along with my family."
He said he would keep the Bonnard because it had great sentimental value.
He also plans to buy a farm outside his home town of Syracuse in Sicily and hopes to use the rest of his anticipated fortune to assure a comfortable future for his children and grandchildren.
He admitted that it had been "a stroke of luck" that he had bought the paintings, which auctioneers had told him were worthless "rubbish" 40 years ago.
"Maybe I had an intuition. I just liked them. When I took them home I said to myself, 'I don't care who painted them, I find them beautiful,'" he said.
The paintings were originally owned by Mathilda Marks, an heiress to the Marks and Spencer empire, but were stolen by con men from the flat she shared with her American husband in Chester Terrace, near Regent's Park in London, in 1970.
The thieves smuggled the paintings by train through France, intending to enter Italy, but panicked while waiting to cross the border and left them on a train heading towards Turin.
They were found by railway inspectors and languished for years in a dusty lost property office before being put up for auction by Italy's national railway network in 1975.
The Fiat worker, who regularly attended the railway auctions as a hobby, bought the two masterpieces for 45,000 lire – just £19 in today's money.
Not realising how valuable they were, he hung them on the wall of his kitchen, first in Turin and later, after he retired, at his home in Syracuse.
It was the curiosity of his son, who had a keen interest in art history, that eventually made him think that the paintings might be more than worthless daubings.
By comparing a dedication on the Gauguin painting with examples of the artist's handwriting, they realised that they had a masterpiece by one of the world's best known artists on their hands.
They contacted a special unit of the Italian police that deals with art and antiquities, who along with art experts confirmed earlier this year that the works were by Gauguin and Bonnard.
The two paintings were then sequestered by the police, who set about trying to establish their rightful ownership.
They liaised with the Metropolitan Police in London to try to discover whether anyone in the UK might have a legitimate claim to the artworks.
But Mrs Marks and her American husband, Terence Kennedy, had no children and no claimants came forward.
"I acquired the painting in good faith and that has been recognised by the authorities in Rome," Nicolo said.
The decision to award the paintings to the pensioner was made by a court in Rome, based on information provided by a special unit of the Carabinieri police that specialises in art and antiquities.
A spokesman for the Metropolitan Police said that had any claimants in the UK come forward, the information would have been passed to the Italian police.
But none did, so the force had no objections to the paintings being returned to the ex-factory worker.#

TV antiques expert's £200,000 collection of vintage watches, jewellery and diamonds stolen by gang of thieves in balaclavas

  • Tom Keane's antiques business was robbed by a gang of thieves
  • Expert has appeared on Bargain Hunt and Cash in the Attic
  • Stole contents of a jewellery cabinet from Oxfordshire business 
A television antiques expert told of his anger yesterday after thieves escaped with up to £200,000 worth of watches, diamonds and jewellery in a ram raid on his business.
Tom Keane, who has featured in programmes such as Cash in the Attic, Bargain Hunt and Dickinson's Real Deal, said a masked and gloved gang broke in to the village antiques centre in the early hours of the morning.
The four-strong gang - all wearing balaclavas - were caught on CCTV attempting to drag a safe off the premises using the stolen Land Rover they used as a getaway car.

Tom Keane, an antiques expert who has appeared on Cash in the Attic and Bargain Hunt, had his business plundered by raiders wearing balaclavas
Tom Keane, an antiques expert who has appeared on Cash in the Attic and Bargain Hunt, had his business plundered by raiders wearing balaclavas
They escaped with the contents of a jewellery cabinet in the reception area of his Oxfordshire business, The Swan at Tetsworth - based in a converted coaching inn - during the early hours of Friday.
Yesterday Mr Keane, who lives in West London, told how police missed the gang by just three minutes after they were automatically summoned to the village by the antique centre's alarm system.
He said: 'One glass cabinet had over £100,000 of watches in it.

'The police have told us that this is the fifth or sixth antiques business to be hit across Berkshire and Oxfordshire in the last few months - although we did not find out about the other raids until after we were hit.
'It is organised crime. The gang stole the Land Rover from North Oxfordshire and dumped it up the road after the raid.' Mr Keane, a father-of-three and grandfather of five, said he was still working to establish exactly what had been taken in the raid.
'Smoke bombs went off as part of the security system and there is stuff all over the floor', he said, adding that Rolex watches from the 1970s and 1980s, jewellery and diamonds were known to be amongst the haul taken.

The auctioneer said the items stolen had a combined value of between £150,000 and £200,000 

The auctioneer said the items stolen had a combined value of between £150,000 and £200,000

Mr Keane (seen in the ITV programme Auction Party in 2010) said police were examining CCTV footage from the night in question
Mr Keane (seen in the ITV programme Auction Party in 2010) said police were examining CCTV footage from the night in question
Some of the timepieces were solid gold with custom-made diamond faces, he said.
He estimated the total value of the items to be between £150,000 to £200,000.
He said officers were now studying CCTV of the raid, as well as earlier footage from the system to see if any potential gang members can be identified 'casing out' the premises.
'We have already found images of a man in a balaclava looking through the windows two nights before the raid', he added.
Thames Valley Police spokesman said: 'We were called after an alarm went off. A side door was forced and a glass cabinet containing jewellery and antiques was smashed. Items are missing.' 
Mr Keane has spent 25 years in the antiques business, beginning as a car boot sale trader before eventually taking over Chiswick Auctions in west London.
He specialises in art and antiques from the 17th to the 20th Century and acts as a consultant valuer for television companies and clients including interior designers and dealers.
The Swan at Tetsworth, near Thame, represents 80 antique dealers in 40 showrooms of top quality English, French and country furniture, as well as smaller decorative antiques.
Pink Panthers' female member jailed ten years

Pink Panthers' female member jailed ten years
Verbier, where the convicted woman rented a chalet for accomplice robbers to hide out. Photo: Switzerland Tourism
The Serb woman, regarded as a “professional criminal”, was convicted of participating in five armed robberies of boutiques in the cantons of Vaud and Valais between 2009 and 2011, according to media reports.
An economist by training, she played a key role in all the robberies, which resulted in losses of several million francs’ worth of jewellery, the court heard.
In the case of the Verbier holdup, she rented a chalet in the upscale Valais resort to shelter armed crooks who made off with booty valued at close to four million francs ($4.16 million) from a boutique in the village on November 3rd 2009, the ATS news agency said.
Afterward she planned, supported and physically participated in other heists from shops at Crans-Montana (another ski resort area in Valais), Lausanne and Rolle in the canton of Vaud, the news agency said.
The corpulent woman, who went by the nickname “Monstro”, admitted her role in the robbery of a Lausanne jewellery shop on April 20th 2011 and another one in Rolle In July the same year but otherwise provided confusing testimony, 24heures newspaper reported.
She was arrested on August 8th 2011 as she was planning another robbery and has been kept in preventive detention ever since.
An accomplice, also a Serb, who is currently imprisoned in France, which refuses to extradite him. was sentenced in absentia to four and a half years in jail, 24heures said.
The woman’s court appearance took place under high security.
In May 2013, a couple of members of the Pink Panthers gang made a sensational escape from a prison near Lausanne with three other prisoners.
Two of the inmates were rounded up the next day and one of the Pink Panthers, a 47-year-old Macedonian with French citizenship, was later arrested in August at his home near Avignon.
The other two escapees, including one alleged member of the gang, remained at large.
The Pink Panthers emerged from the conflict in the former Yugoslavia to become the most successful jewel thieves in the world, AFP reported last year.
According to Interpol, they have since 1999 snatched jewels with a value in excess of 330 million euros ($440 million) in heists that are often executed with breathtaking speed and precision.
They gained their nickname with a raid on a London branch of Graff Diamonds in 2003, in which two of them posed as wealthy would-be customers, persuading staff to open doors for them before helping themselves to diamonds worth millions.
Although one of the robbers was overpowered at the scene and another later arrested, only a fraction of the diamonds were recovered, one of them hidden in a pot of face cream.
That was reminiscent of a scene from the 1975 film "The Return of the Pink Panther" and resulted in a nickname that the gang members themselves adopted, wearing pink shirts for a subsequent raid in Zurich.

Friday, December 05, 2014

Stolen Art Watch, Monet Damage Was Reaction To Police Raid

Thief jailed over damage to €10m Monet painting

The area of damage on the  Monet ' Argenteuil Basin with a Single Sailboat ' [1847] painting. The restored Monet Painting  was placed back on  public view at the National Gallery of Ireland yesterday.
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Pic Frank Mc Grath
The area of damage on the Monet ' Argenteuil Basin with a Single Sailboat ' [1847] painting. The restored Monet Painting was placed back on public view at the National Gallery of Ireland yesterday

a 49-year-old criminal who was jailed for four and a half years for damaging a €10m painting is also the chief suspect for robbing a massive haul of artwork and rare books which were discovered in his west Dublin home in April.

Andrew Shannon (49) of Willians Way, Ongar had pleaded not guilty to damaging the Claude Monet painting entitled Argenteuil Basin with a Single Sail Boat (1874) at the National Gallery of Ireland on Clare Street on June 29, 2012.
Mr Shannon claimed he had felt dizzy and fell forward, telling two tourists from New Zealand and a member of security staff that he had a heart condition. A jury of seven women and five men returned a verdict of guilty on that charge yesterday following an eight-day trial.
The court heard Shannon has 48 previous convictions in this and other jurisdictions, some of which are for burglary and theft offences involving antiques.
About 60 pieces of art, including paintings, statues, antiques and rare books, were seized by officers from Pearse Street garda station at Shannon's home. Shannon has previous convictions for stealing from stately homes in England as well as for handling stolen property, including maps dating from 1651 with a value of €6,000.
The huge haul which gardai discovered in April was the subject of a garda appeal when many of the items were put on display. The haul included 48 paintings by renowned Irish-based artists like William Ashford, Robert Ballagh and Graham Knuttell, worth well over €100,000.
Shannon was on remand in prison when the raid on his Ongar home took place in April and has not yet been questioned or arrested about the haul.
The artworks were stolen from locations as diverse as Maynooth, Blarney and England. He is expected to be questioned over the coming months.
The revelation comes as senior sources told the Herald that the investigation into Shannon's vandalism of paintings at the National Gallery, as well as the failed prosecution for damaging paintings in the Shelbourne Hotel, have cost "hundreds of thousands of euro".
A senior source pointed out that gardai had to travel to the United States to interview witnesses and other witnesses had to be brought from New Zealand for the trial at a major cost to the State.
The case also involved hundreds of man hours for investigating officers as well as two lengthy trials.
Gardai also believe that Shannon committed the vandalism act against the Monet painting out of "pure spite" after his home had been raided and items taken from it by the Garda National Bureau of Criminal Investigation's Arts and Antiques Unit earlier that day.
The Monet painting is now back on display in the National Gallery following a period of restoration.
Judge Martin Nolan imposed a sentence of six years and suspended the final 15 months on strict conditions including that Shannon not enter into a public painting gallery or any other institution where paintings are displayed.

Irishman jailed for stately home thefts

May 2009 
A SERIAL thief who travelled from Ireland to target English stately homes has been jailed after a caretaker at Yorkshire's Castle Howard saw him stuff two valuable watercolours into his laptop bag.
Andrew Shannon, 44, described as unemployed and illiterate, robbed six stately homes of antiques and paintings worth thousands of pounds on a "weekend spree" of stealing.
Shannon travelled from Dublin to target famous buildings across the country, including Blenheim Palace and Chatsworth House.
Together with an accomplice, he stole ornamental lions, porcelain vases, figurines, expensive books and even an antique walking stick from Belvoir Castle – which was identified as missing by the Duke of Rutland.
The four-day spree came to an end on a Sunday last August at Castle Howard, when a caretaker spotted Shannon lurking on a second floor of the home where the public are not allowed.
He claimed he was looking for a toilet, but staff grew suspicious and found two 800 paintings hidden in his laptop bag.
He also had a walkie talkie which he used to communicate with his accomplice and a Chinese ceramic lid – the other half of which was with the other thief, who cannot be named for legal reasons.
Police later traced Shannon's car and found a satellite navigation unit which had been programmed with six stately homes across the UK.
In court he admitted his part in six burglaries.
Jailing him for three years him at York Crown Court, Recorder Deborah Sherwin said: "Your purpose for travelling to England was to carry out this spree of theft.
"You travelled around the country visiting stately homes and stealing from them. It was pre-planned, you took advantage of these vulnerable homes that do not have the most sophisticated security measures in operation."
Prosecuting, David Brooke, said: "The two men visited a number of stately homes between July 30 and August 3 last year. But they were not innocent tourists visiting them for their beauty, this was a long weekend of crime."
Defending, Taryn Turner, said that Shannon had been claiming disability benefits after being seriously injured in a car crash in 1996. As a result he had suffered four heart attacks.
Speaking after the sentencing, Sgt Daniel Spence, of Malton Police Station, said: "Shannon is a prolific international travelling criminal with numerous convictions of a similar nature and his visit to the UK was with the sole intention of stealing works of art from stately homes and country houses.
"An accomplice in this case was detained by the Gardai in Dublin and has been dealt with in Ireland for handling stolen goods. The Crime Prosecution Service and the police are working towards attaining an arrest warrant and bringing him back to the UK."
He added: "It is a good result for Castle Howard and the police."

Shannon brothers sought over stolen antique books

Andrew and William Shannon  
Andrew and William Shannon failed to return to a police station in July
Police want to speak to two brothers in connection with more than 100 stolen antique books and objects offered for sale at an auction in Gloucestershire.
William Knowle Shannon, 30, and Andrew Shannon, 46, whose last known addresses were in Dublin, were arrested and questioned in relation to the thefts.
They were given bail and told to return to a Gloucestershire police station in July 2011, but failed to appear.
Among the items is a Chinese porcelain goose valued at around £20,000.
The books offered for sale in South Cerney date between 1571 and 1962.
A number of them contain personal inscriptions, including one to the wife of Sir Winston Churchill.

Chinese porcelain Goose  
Police said the Chinese porcelain goose is valued at £20,000.
There is also a bronze sculpture by Clodion and a green hardback book of poetry, The Wild Harp by Katherine Tynan.
Inside is written: "To Lady Glenconner."
The books and ornaments are believed to have been stolen from stately homes or possibly National Trust properties across England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales.
A Gloucestershire police spokesman said officers have been working to try to locate the men and they are now asking the public for their help to find them.

Picasso artwork stolen from Art Miami fair

A silver plate crafted by Spanish master Pablo Picasso was stolen, apparently overnight, from Art Miami in Midtown, the premier satellite fair to Art Basel Miami Beach.
David Smith, owner of the Amsterdam-based Leslie Smith Gallery, said he arrived at the booth Friday morning to find an empty plate holder on the wall where the artwork hung Thursday night.
“I’ve been doing art shows all my life. Even when I was a kid, I went with my parents,” he said. “I’ve never, ever had anything stolen.”
Smith reported the theft to the show and to Miami police, who came and dusted for fingerprints, he said.
The 1956 piece, Visage aux Mains (Face with Hands), is a 16.5-inch-wide silver plate engraved with, naturally, a face and hands. It’s Number 16 in a 20-plate series, Smith said, and is valued at about $85,000.
Art Miami is located at 3101 NE First Ave. in a temporary tent facility apparently guarded by the same company that conducts security for Art Basel, which is located at the Miami Beach Convention Center.
At Art Miami, which is a separate fair entirely, security includes 24-hour guards at entrances and exits, as well as locks and chains on the doors. There is no video surveillance of each booth, which is hardly unusual for art fairs.
“There’s an investigation going on,” said Nick Korniloff, the fair’s director and partner.
Overnight, he added, cleaning crews, fair employees and booth operators would have had access to the site. The fair has a list of all personnel working on the premises.
According to Smith, a security guard did a walk-through at about 10:30 p.m. and the Picasso was still in place. Smith said he himself left Art Miami at about 8:30 p.m. last night, with his gallery collection whole. The Picasso had hung there since Monday.
When he walked in at about 10:45 a.m. Friday, Smith said, the piece was gone.
By the time fairgoers started to arrive at 11 a.m., all they saw was a label beneath where the Picasso had been. “Signed, numbered & Stamped with silver marks,” the label read in part.
Police asked the gallery to keep the booth untouched as they investigated, which means Smith could hardly focus on selling art in the fair’s first two hours — usually the busiest ones of the day.
“We had to shoo people off the booth,” he said. “I definitely missed people I didn’t speak to.”
Nothing else in his booth was missing or appeared disturbed, Smith said. The Picasso plate wasn’t the most valuable artwork on display, according to Smith: For example, a Picasso ceramic just below where the plate was hanging is worth about $365,000. The missing piece will be reported to an international database of stolen artwork.
Smith speculated that the plate might have been small enough for someone to hide under a sweater or jacket. The neighboring ceramic piece was smaller but easier to break — and easier to spot as a Picasso, perhaps making it less attractive to steal.
“If you steal art, if it’s from a famous artist, it’s going to be hard to re-sell,” he said. “Either somebody steals it for himself to keep, or somebody, somewhere, someday will realize it’s stolen.”

Red Bull Formula 1 trophies stolen in Milton Keynes factory raid

Sebastian Vettel with the trophy cabinet at Red Bull 
 Four-time World Champion Sebastian Vettel visited the factory last week before leaving to join Ferrari for 2015
More than 60 trophies won by Red Bull Racing have been stolen from the Formula 1 team's Milton Keynes factory after a 4x4 drove through the entrance.
Six men used the vehicle to gain access to the site in Bradbourne Drive, Tilbrook, about 01:30 GMT.
Team principal Christian Horner said they were "devastated" by the break in as the trophies "took years and hard work to accumulate".
Night staff working at the site were not harmed, Thames Valley Police said.
'Aggressive break-in' Horner said: "The break-in caused significant damage and was very upsetting for our night officers who were on duty at the time.
"Beyond the aggressive nature of this break-in, we are perplexed why anyone would take these trophies.
"The value to the team is of course extraordinarily high due to the sheer hard work and effort that went into winning each and every one.
"But their intrinsic value is low; they would be of little benefit to those outside of the team and, in addition to that, many of the trophies on display were replicas."

Sebastian Vettel with the Brazilian Grand Prix trophy in November 2013  
Sebastian Vettel won 39 Grand Prix with Red Bull and its junior team, Toro Rosso
The F1 championship and constructors trophies were not at the factory, having been presented to Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes for winning the 2014 titles.
"The actions of these men mean it's likely that we will have to make our site less accessible in the future, which will be unfair on the hundreds of fans that travel to visit our factory each year to see our trophies and our Formula 1 car, added Horner.
In addition to the silver 4x4, a black or dark blue Mercedes estate car was also involved. Both are believed to have foreign number plates, police said.
Detectives are appealing for witnesses.

Thief walks out with €500,000 sculpture from Italy's national modern art museum

Theft provokes an outcry over security as a robber walks away with the 19th century bronze hidden under his jacket in broad daylight

It took a thief only minutes to swipe the precious sculpture entitled ‘Sick Child,’ right, by Italian impressionist, Medardo Rosso, from the National Gallery of Modern Art in Rome, left
It took a thief only minutes to swipe the precious sculpture entitled ‘Sick Child,’ right, by Italian impressionist, Medardo Rosso, from the National Gallery of Modern Art in Rome, left Photo: Alamy
The daring robbery of a €500,000 (£400,000) sculpture from Italy’s premier modern art gallery in Rome has provoked a fresh outcry about whether enough is being spent protecting the country’s precious cultural assets.
It took a thief dressed in a suit and tie only minutes to swipe the precious sculpture entitled ‘Sick Child’ (Bambino Malato) by Italian impressionist, Medardo Rosso, from the National Gallery of Modern Art and walk away it under his jacket during opening hours.
The bronze sculpture was created by Rosso between 1893 and 1895 and is considered one of his finest masterpieces, often compared to Auguste Rodin.
Art historian and blogger Tomaso Montanari described the robbery as “incredible” and questioned whether government funding cuts had played a role.
“You have to say that no museum can avoid robberies,” Montanari wrote in La Repubblica. “But it is upsetting to see a bronze by Medardo Rosso that can be taken away from a museum as if it was a self-service pizza.”
Gallery officials are uncertain when the robbery occurred but a custodian realized the sculpture was missing around 4.30 pm on Friday.
Staff were reportedly distracted with the staging of an art show elsewhere in the building but security cameras captured the thief leaving the gallery.
Museum director Maria Vittoria Marini Clarelli defended its security as members of the Carabinieri's culture squad were called to investigate.
“The system is very well-equipped with alarms and video surveillance but we cannot give any more information as investigators have asked us for the utmost discretion,” she said. “The video cameras filmed everything.”
She confirmed that the sculpture was insured for £400,000.
It is the latest embarrassment for the modern gallery that was recently revamped. Three armed robbers stole two works by Dutch master Vincent Van Gogh and another by French impressionist Paul Cezanne in 1998. The works were later recovered.
Art crime is a booming business according to the United Nations, and is the fourth most lucrative sector in international crime after drugs, money laundering and illegal arms shipments.

Missing sculpture found in locker of Rome museum

Police working on theory that thief returned with art work
A bronze sculpture by Italian artist Medardo Rosso was recovered in a museum locker at Rome's Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Moderna (GNAM) on 8 December, three days after it was stolen, according to a report in Italian daily newspaper La Repubblica.

Considered one of Rosso's masterpieces, the Bambino Malato or Sick Child sculpture dates from 1893-1895, and is valued at €500,000. The bronze bust was noticed missing at around 16.30 on 5 December, during opening hours, from a pedestal in room 48 of the museum.

Police are working on the theory that the thief returned to GNAM and deposited the sculpture in the locker area which had already been searched following the theft. The artwork belongs to the museum's permanent collection and was on show as part of the current exhibition Secessione e Avanguardia.

The Italian culture ministry said that the museum's closed circuit television and alarm systems were fully operational at the time of the theft.

In 1998 three armed robbers stole two works by Vincent Van Gogh and another by Paul Cèzanne. The paintings were later recovered.

Born in Turin in 1858, Rosso was a Post-Impressionist artist and is considered by many to be Italy's answer to Auguste Rodin. He is best known for his half-formed bronze, plaster and wax sculptures, and he died in Milan in 1928.

Burglars waltz out of Madrid art gallery with 70 paintings

Security guard questioned thieves but did not suspect any wrongdoing

Gallery owners took this photograph of the hole made in the wall by the burglars. / EFE

Three men managed to break into a Madrid art gallery last week, and walked out with 70 paintings worth an estimated €600,000.
The thieves entered Galería Puerta de Alcalá in the early hours of Thursday by first breaking into the adjacent premises, a former bar that has been closed since last year. They then punched a hole through the wall leading into the gallery, and deactivated the alarm once inside.
A security watchman from a nearby construction site saw the men walking out with paintings in their arms and went over to ask them some questions, but did not suspect that they were burglars.
“Is this merchandise yours?” he reportedly asked.
“We’re taking the paintings out of the gallery to put them on display somewhere else.”
“At this time of the night?”
“We have to get an early start to get there in time.”
The burglars, whom the security guard described as having Eastern European accents, spent two to three hours taking out art, propping it against nearby trees and loading it into a van. Then they drove off with their haul.
Pedro Márquez, who used to run the gallery before handing it over to his son, said that “in the last 40 years we have never taken out a single painting at 5am.”
“They took all the paintings from the back of the gallery, in a well-hidden spot. They took all our best work,” he added.
The stolen art includes 14 paintings by Segarra Chías, a painter from Seville whose work was going to be the subject of a solo show at the gallery; work by the Valencian painter Eustaquio Segrelles; and pieces by Juan González Alacreu.
“Given the amount of paintings they took and the way they took them out, wrapping them in plastic after a careful selection, they must have been here between two and three hours,” explains Márquez.
The gallery owners have photographic records of all the stolen material, and they plan to make these images public to prevent the art from being sold on the black market. Meanwhile, the police are working to locate the art thieves.

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