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Saturday, July 01, 2017

Stolen Art Watch, Brighton Antiques Knocker Boy Lee Collins Gets Four Years Jailtime. July 2017 Art Crime Round Up

Brighton Antiques Knocker Boy Lee Collins appeared at Portsmouth Crown Court on June 23rd 2017 where he was convicted on two counts. He received two years six months for the first count and eighteen months for the second count. A total of four years in prison.
Subsequently, Lee Collins aka Lee Kendall appeared at Aylesbury Crown Court and after a trial was convicted and sentenced on June 29th 2017 to a further eighteen months in prison. Not sure if this means he will serve the whole five years six months for the three convictions or the last sentence will be concurrent?

Update: JAILED: Man, Lee Collins, posing as tradesman stole from elderly couple's home in Great Missenden

A man who posed as a tradesman to steal from an elderly couple’s home in Great Missenden has been jailed for 18 months.
In July last year 50-year-old Lee Collins, of The Heights in Brighton, visited the couple's home claiming to work for ‘Clarences of Sussex’ – and asked to buy antiques.
While the victims were distracted, Collins, who is also known as Lee Kendall, stole an Omega watch from the house.
He was later stopped by police in High Wycombe and a number of items were seized from his vehicle.
Collins was charged on October 25 last year and appeared at Aylesbury Crown Court on Thursday, June 29 where he was sentenced.
Investigating officer PC Chris Jamieson, from Taplow Police Station, said: "This case related to a burglary targeted at vulnerable members of the community. I am pleased that Collins has been convicted and will be serving time in prison.
"Thames Valley Police will strive to work to bring offenders to justice in this way, especially for offences such as this which cause a lot of concern and impact to the public.
"We will ensure justice is brought to those attempting to target vulnerable members of our communities."

 Although the companies website, twitter and fb pages are still active, a letter was served today, July 4th 2017,to strike this company in two months and any assets or money will be paid to the crown.

Lee Collins relation pleads guilty to distrction buglary

Police release transcript made between pensioner and man who was later sentenced for distraction burglary

Jack Collins has been sentenced for carrying out a distraction burglary at an elderly woman’s home in Gerrards Cross
This is the transcript of a conversation between a pensioner and a man who was sentenced for a distraction burglary at her home.
Thames Valley Police have released the CCTV recording of the elderly woman's conversation with Jack Collins, 21, of The Heights, Brighton, made on the doorstep of the 88-year-old's Gerrards Cross home.
Collins purported to be a clock repair man and using the trading name "Clarences of Sussex" paid a visit to the victim's address at 3pm on July 6 2016.
He asked to be let in to examine a clock at the property, stating that the victim had previously asked him to attend for repairs, but the victim has no memory of this.

The victim and witness were happy for this transcript to be released:
Jack Collins (JC) – “Good afternoon, sorry to trouble you, it’s about the brochure I dropped in last week, did you have a chance to read the brochure at all?”
Victim (V) – “What was it about?”
(JC) – “We’ve found out some good news about your clock for you, do you remember? We came a while back, and I just needed to have another quick look, that’s all.”
(V) opens the door – “If it’s anywhere it’ll be… look… do you see it?”
(JC) “Yes, it’s the wall clock, the grandmother”
(V) – “The big one?”
(JC) – “Yes! Do you remember we looked at it a while ago now?”
(V) – “I don’t remember”
(JC) – “Um, is it all right to have a quick look?” (after a 10 second gap in the CCTV) “…to get it repaired for you”
(V) – “I don’t particularly want it repaired”
(JC) – “No, that’s fine. I’ll leave that. Um do you remember the beads that you showed me upstairs? Because I found out about them for you and they’re going to be worth several hundred pounds. Is it alright to have another look?
(V) – “Yes”
(JC) – “Come on then”
JC goes up the stairs and is out of sight. The victim attempts to follow, but is slow climbing the stairs on her own.
Shortly after Collins goes upstairs a neighbour of the victim arrives, asking Collins who he is and for his business card. Collins agrees to go out to his car and collect the card for the neighbour, however he does not return to the property.
It is not believed that Collins actually took anything from the property.

He pleaded guilty at Amersham Crown Court on Wednesday May 17 and was sentenced to 21 months imprisonment (suspended for 2 years), 250 hours unpaid work and £500 compensation.
Investigating officer PC Chris Jamieson, from Taplow Police Station, said: “I am grateful for the hard work undertaken to convict the offender and protect the vulnerable victim.
"I also particularly commend the brave neighbour who the challenged the offender during the burglary, causing him to flee.
“I hope this promotes a message that we will robustly investigate these kinds of offences and ensure justice is brought to those attempting to target vulnerable members of our communities.
“This is a particularly disturbing case of an offender targeting an elderly victim and taking advantage of her vulnerabilities.
"We would also advise all elderly or vulnerable residents to be on their guard when people call at their door, even if they are expecting someone – care should still be taken.”
 Advice for how to deal with callers is available here

The Cézanne Stolen In The Perfect Art Heist For a New Millennium

As the world celebrated the dawn of a new millennium in 2000, a thief broke into Oxford's Ashmolean Museum and stole a Cézanne painting. It, and the thief, have never been found

As the clock struck midnight on January 1, 2000, crowds around the world went wild. It was not only a new year, worthy of all the celebration that entails, but also a new millennium, one that many believed would start in 'Y2K' disaster.
But the crisis was averted, the clocks and computers rolled back to zero with nary a hiccup, and the revelry began in full force in towns like Oxford, England.
While many had been preparing for the evening by stocking up on canned goods and bottled water (just in case), one person in the U.K. had a different idea of preparation.
Sometime after 1 a.m. on New Year’s Day, while fireworks were blasting and revelers carousing in the surrounding streets—a thief successfully carried out his plan to steal Paul Cézanne’s 'View of Auvers-sur-Oise' from the University of Oxford’s Ashmolean Museum.
The history of art theft is littered with amateurs who have royally bungled their ill-considered attempts at a get-rich-quick scheme (hint: stealing art is complicated and rarely lucrative), and heists that are successful are often attributed to woefully inadequate security.
But neither of these plot lines applied to the Cézanne-napping. The thief who broke into the Ashmolean on New Year’s Eve carried out a professional, highly planned heist that many have likened to that of The Thomas Crown Affair.
The plan was meticulously executed. Using the construction scaffolding at nearby Oxford University Library, the thief climbed onto the roof and then hopped across several buildings to get to the museum.
The thief then broke through a skylight, lowered a rope into the gallery below, and shimmied their way down.
The real evil genius of the plan was in their next move. As the thief entered the gallery, they activated a smoke canister and, using a fan, spread a fog that obscured the view of the security cameras—one of the reasons the thief has never been identified—and set off the fire alarm.
While most would consider tripping an alarm in the middle of a crime a deal-breaker, in this case, it bought the thief an extra couple of minutes. While security guards waited for the fire department to arrive, the thief was able to grab the Cézanne from a nearby gallery, shimmy back up the rope, reverse their roof hopping, and disappear into the surrounding crowd.
The whole heist took less than ten minutes and, by the time the authorities had cleared the building and determined that the only emergency was the empty space where the Cézanne had once hung, the thief was gone without a trace.
“'It is the only Cézanne we have in the Ashmolean, and it is very important as an example of late 19th-century painting,” Dr. Christopher Brown, then-director of the Ashmolean, told the Guardian. “This is not just a criminal act but a very selfish act.”'View of Auvers-sur-Oise' was painted by the artist sometime between 1879 and 1882, and it represents a key step in Cézanne’s career as he transitioned from his early, darker work to the Post-Impressionist style that he would become known for. Cézanne may now be considered one of the most important artists of the 19th century, paving the way for Modernism and gaining followers of the likes of Matisse, Picasso, and Kandinsky, but he was ignored and even rejected for most of his career (his first solo show wasn’t until the age of 56).
While he was struggling in his early 30’s to gain a toehold in the artistic community, the artist decided to move his family to Auvers-sur-Oise in France at the suggestion of his dear friend and fellow painter Camille Pissarro.
“Our Cézanne gives us hope, and I’ve seen some paintings; I have at home one of remarkable vigor and power,” Pissarro wrote in a letter to Antoine Guillemet in early 1872. “If, as I hope, he remains for awhile in Auvers, where he’s going to live, he’ll astonish a lot of artists who were too quick to condemn him.”
He would astonish artists, although their condemnation lasted for several more decades, but the year and a half that Cézanne spent in the small town to the northwest of Paris would continue to influence him for a long time.
“Cézanne mightn't have been Cézanne without [Pissarro],” Jerry Saltz wrote in a 2005 review of an exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art called “Cézanne and Pissarro: Pioneering Modern Painting.” “It was Pissarro who pulled Cézanne toward nature, away from expressionist painting, the palette knife excesses of Courbet, and what art historian Roger Fry called ‘artistic madness.’”
Well after he left town in early 1874, Cézanne would continue to paint landscapes inspired by Auvers-sur-Oise. One of these was the painting that ended up in the Ashmolean collection.
As the smoke cleared in the early morning hours of the new Millennium, detectives on the scene started looking at the case as a “stolen-to-order” job. The Cézanne was in the very same gallery as a van Gogh, a Picasso, a Manet, and a Monet, but none of the other paintings were touched; the culprit clearly had a mission when they broke through the skylight.
But in an interview he gave to NPR several days after the theft, Dr. Brown, the museum’s director, said that he wasn’t sure that was the case. He told NPR's Liane Hansen that earlier in December, a Cézanne had sold at an auction in London for £18 million. He thought the man responsible had learned about the sale and saw an opportunity to cash in.
Beyond being a devastating loss for the museum, the theft was particularly hurtful to Brown because of the path it took to get to Oxford.
The Cézanne was part of a group of paintings donated to the museum by Richard and Sophie Walzer, who had come to the U.K. as German refugees fleeing Hitler during World War II.
“In giving this group of pictures to the Ashmolean, they were thanking the British people for taking them in at this terrible time, and particularly the people of Oxford,” Brown told NPR. “So there is a real sentimental link between this picture and Oxford. And it is profoundly upsetting to me, as it is to many of us here, that that link has been broken by this criminal act.”
As the confetti settled from the New Year’s celebrations and the world got back to their lives, word of the theft began to hit papers around the globe. Worth a reported $4.8 million, 'View of Auvers-sur-Oise' was one of the most significant art heists in recent decades, and that distinction earned it a not-so-prized spot on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted Art Crimes list, where it remains today.
But despite the publicity, no break has come in the case of the missing Cézanne and the painting’s whereabouts remain just as hidden as the identity of the person who took it in the first place.
But wherever the perpetrator is—whether enjoying the spoils of their made-for-hire job or sneaking glances at the famous painting that is not so easy to sell—the joke may be on them.
In February 2016, new guidelines were passed in the U.K. that demand a more severe punishment for offenses deemed “heritage crimes,” a designation for which the New Year’s Eve theft more than qualifies. Had the thief been discovered before that date, they would have faced a less severe sentence.
If the thief is ever caught they may find themselves wishing that, on that momentous Millennium night, they too had had no greater plans than to enjoy a raucous display of fireworks just like everyone else.
Art Hostage Comments:
Please listen to this radio show featuring Charlie Hill explaining how he was offered the Cezanne back for 20,000 euros, but the museum and police refused to engage with him.

Artful Dodger

Irish Monet vandal Andrew Shannon is back to his old tricks as he’s spotted on prowl at ANOTHER art gallery in England

Our pictures also show him and his older cohort mingling with other visitors as they appear to identify items for theft
IRELAND’S most notorious art thief and convicted masterpiece vandal is refusing to give up his place in Rogues’ Gallery.
Our exclusive CCTV stills show Andrew Shannon on the prowl inside Kiplin Hall in North Yorkshire, England, with another man and a teenage lad.

Shannon looks up at the camera
Shannon looks up at the camera
In the first snap, the 51-year-old is captured looking directly at a security camera in the 16th century Jacobean house, near Northallerton.
Our pictures also show him and his older cohort mingling with other visitors as they appear to identify items for theft.
And in another, the trio are seen walking down the stairs after entering the historic property’s private bedrooms.
Although he was spotted acting suspiciously by the stately home’s guides, staff were unable to prevent the theft of five antique books.
And cops were left frustrated in their attempts to charge the trio with theft after they failed to recover any of the stolen tomes.

Shannon walks around the gallery
Shannon walks around the gallery
Shannon, who provided legal advice to lags while inside Dublin’s Cloverhill Prison, swooped on the property in April 2016 after his early release from a six-year sentence for damaging a €10million painting in Dublin in 2012.
Our exclusive CCTV grabs show Shannon in the National Gallery of Ireland at the moment he lunged at the Monet masterpiece.
The thief — who has 48 previous convictions — is pictured mingling with visitors and admiring other works of art.
But onlookers were left stunned after he jumped at the artwork before punching a hole through the canvas.
The damaged painting — the Argenteuil Basin with a Single Sail Boat — is now back on display after it was repaired.
Passing sentence in December 2014, Mr Justice Martin Nolan said the Monet attack was a “peculiar crime”, adding the way the damage had been caused was “abnormal”.
He suspended the final 15 months of Shannon’s six-year term on condition he does not enter art ­galleries.

Shannon punches a hole in Monet painting as stunned onlookers stand watching in horror
Shannon punches a hole in Monet painting as stunned onlookers stand watching in horror
Today’s special investigation by the Irish Sun into one of Europe’s most prolific art and antique thieves reveals how he’s now back behind bars.
He is serving a sentence at HM Prison Preston after he was lifted by cops there in April of this year.
He was wanted by detectives in the UK after he failed to return to complete a theft sentence there after he previously received temporary release.
The thief — who was again released from prison in October over a one-year sentence for possessing 57 stolen antique books taken from Carton House, Co Kildare — was arrested after his Ford Focus was identified by the Automatic Numberplate Recognition System.
We understand UK cops swooped after they received a tip-off from the Gardai that he was travelling to England.
Shannon, who also failed in his appeal to have his conviction for the Monet attack overturned after pleading his innocence, will now spend the next 15 months in the UK slammer.
A source said: “It’s great news for the art world to have this man back behind bars again.
“Even when he received temporary release he came back to Ireland to target more stately homes.
“He will steal anything he gets his hands on and just doesn’t want other people enjoying fine art or antiques. He even stole a wedding photographer’s album in Co Monaghan even though it was worth nothing. He just did it for badness.”

The damaged Claude Monet painting
Collins Courts
The damaged Claude Monet painting
Although he’s now back behind bars, owners of vintage estates across England, Scotland and Wales will be on high alert when he’s released next year.
One owner of a UK pad told us: “Shannon has been one of our most prolific offenders. He’s a suspect in stealing items from five homes in the last year.
“He’s not even stealing anything substantial.
“On one of his visits he’s suspected of stealing an ashtray and little figures that don’t have any monetary value.
“The whole thing seems to be a dare to him and it looks as if he’s taunting us because he’s looking directly at the camera in one of the images.
“He seldom leaves empty-handed and doesn’t work alone. It looks as if he’s now passing on his experience to a younger criminal.
“The problems for us start when he comes over here and we know he’s been operating here for a very long time.”

It took 18 months to repair the damage Shannon caused to the painting
It took 18 months to repair the damage Shannon caused to the painting
The investigation into Shannon’s exploits in Ireland was run by Sergeant Eugene McCarthy and his team, including Detective Garda David Ganly, under the command of Superintendent Joe Gannon.
Supt Gannon welcomed Shannon’s jail sentence in England and said: “It’s good to see there is no safe refuge for people who engage in criminality. This individual targets paintings and antiquities for some ulterior motive known only to himself.
“Thankfully, the law has finally caught up and dealt with him.
“A very thorough and diligent investigation into this man was conducted by the investigating officers. He poses a serious threat to the world of art and antiquities.
“He attempted to deny the general public the pleasure of preserving and viewing the legacy of history.”
We can also reveal that during a search of his home last year, officers also recovered thousands of toothbrushes and Star Wars toys.
Our latest revelations come after we revealed exclusive images from inside Shannon’s secret art gallery at his home.
A €100,000 haul — including 43 paintings and ten rare books — was found at the thief’s home after it was raided.

Shannon walking down stairs in gallery
Shannon and two associates walk down stairs in gallery
We showed how every wall in the tiny two-bedroom duplex in Ongar, west Dublin, was peppered with fine art. The pictures also illustrated how Shannon dished out a fortune on revamping the pad. His decorations included installing a TV inside the property’s bathroom.
Officers also found an antique chiropodist kit, three medals and a Georgian door lock — with the most expensive item a €10,000 Wooded River Landscape with Peasants by Irish-based artist William Ashford.
A source added: “Shannon’s property was like something from the Titanic or Gone With The Wind — every wall was completely covered. On the one hand you have him destroying historic works of art and on the other admiring them privately at his home.
“Every room had a painting hanging and he was clearly very proud of his collection. It was like a professional art gallery.
“The house didn’t look like much on the outside but a lot of money went into it.
“Shannon was unemployed and yet he still had paintings in every corner of his house.”
Since the recovery of the items from Shannon’s pad, over €30,000 worth of artworks and antiques have been returned to their owners.
They include three paintings returned to the Culloden Hotel in Northern Ireland, books to Maynooth University and a painting to the Shelbourne Hotel in Dublin.
One of the items found belonged to Slane Castle owner Lord Henry Mountcharles.
Gardai believe the €4,000 item was swiped from Beau Parc House in Navan, Co Meath, in 1986. But others who have yet to come forward and collect their treasures.