Vermeer's The Concert

Vermeer's The Concert

Thursday, November 28, 2019

Stolen Art Watch, Tiny Reward On Dresden Green Vault Heist, Should Be $10 Million Like Gardner Heist, Dresden "White" Worth More Than Reward In Underworld Alone, Updated

Reward offered for information on German treasure robbery

BERLIN (AP) — German authorities are offering a 500,000-euro ($550,000) reward for information leading to the recovery of 18th century jewels snatched from a unique collection in Dresden or the arrest of the thieves.
A large diamond brooch, a diamond epaulette and other treasures were taken from Dresden’s Green Vault early Monday morning.
Police and prosecutors said in a joint statement Thursday that “we will leave no stone unturned to solve this case.”
A 40-member investigating commission is working on the robbery.
The Green Vault is one of the world’s oldest museums. It was established in 1723 and contains the treasury of Augustus the Strong of Saxony, comprising around 4,000 objects of gold, precious stones and other materials.

Art Hostage Comments:

The tiny reward offered makes authorities look stupid.

First, the billion dollar value, although perhaps too high, means the reward offered is 0.05% and also the 49 ct "Dresden White" diamond is worth more in the Underworld than the total reward offered.

Furthermore, the cushion shape of the "Dresden White" makes it easier to re-cut and a reduction from 49ct to say, 35ct would disguise it enough for resale on the legitimate market for much, much more than the $550,000 reward offered for the whole stolen haul, seventeen pieces.

The Dresden White is by far the most valuable single item stolen. Augustus the Strong, the 18th century Prince-Elector of Saxony who founded the Green Vault, is said to have been so enraptured by the diamond he paid $1m for it — a fabulous sum at the time.

When a huge deep blue diamond known as the French Blue was stolen from the French government following King Louis XVI's attempt to flee the country during the French Revolution, it was recut from 67.125 carats to 45.52 carats, which in turn became known as the Hope Diamond.

It would have been far better to offer a "Substantial" reward leaving the actual figure as a matter of debate and a way to attract leads.

If, as suspected, the Remmo family are involved, if not the actual heist, then certainly the following handling of the Dresden Green Vault haul, then offering such a tiny reward might encourage the current handlers to break up and sell the whole haul on the black market, destroying the jewels forever.

Much better to replicate the Gardner Museum and offer a $10 million reward, thereby making the Dresden Green Vault haul worth much more as it is, rather than broken apart.

By offering $550,000 reward for all seventeen Dresden Green Vault pieces, authorities have given Underworld figures, such as the Remmo family a price benchmark, whereby if they offer $3-5 million for the total Dresden Green Vault haul, they will be the buyers.

An Underworld offer of $1 million for the "Dresden White" alone would secure it for Underworld figures such as the Remmo family.

To be continued..............................................

Burglars hit East German secret police museum in Berlin

Burglars hit East German secret police museum in Berlin

Berlin (AFP) – Burglars broke into Berlin’s Stasi Museum, which showcases items of East Germany’s hated secret police, making off with collectible medals and gold jewellery, authorities said Sunday, days after a spectacular diamond heist in Dresden.
The robbers broke in through a window on the first floor, “smashed several showcases, and stole medals and jewellery”, said police in a statement.

They made off with their spoils undetected.
The time of the raid was unclear but a museum employee found showcases smashed in the exhibition rooms on Sunday morning.

Museum director Joerg Drieselmann told the Tagesspiegel daily that among the medals taken were a gold Patriotic order of Merit, an Order of Karl Marx — the highest honour awarded in the former communist East Germany and an Order of Lenin.

Stolen jewellery included rings and a watch, he said.
The items were confiscated by the Stasi from private individuals.

After the collapse of the communist regime, many items were returned to their owners. But some which remained unclaimed were on loan to the Stasi Museum as part of its exhibition.
“These are not huge treasures. But we are a history museum and don’t expect people to break in,” the museum chief was quoted as saying.

The latest robbery came hot on the heels of a brazen heist at the Green Vault museum in Dresden’s Royal Palace on November 25.
Having sparked a partial power cut before breaking in through a window, the thieves stole priceless 18th-century diamond jewellery — including a famous 49-carat Dresden white — from the collection of the Saxon ruler August the Strong.
Police are still hunting four suspects, and have offered half a million euros ($550,000) as a reward for information leading to an arrest or recovery of the stolen goods.

Investigators are also in contact with colleagues in Berlin to explore possible connections to a similar heist in the capital two years ago.
In 2017, a 100-kilogramme (220-pound), 24-karat giant gold coin was stolen from Berlin’s Bode Museum.
Four men with links to a notorious Berlin gang were later arrested and put on trial.
The coin has never been recovered, and fears are growing that the Dresden treasures will also remain lost forever.

Shaken by the loss, Germany’s culture minister Monika Gruetters this week called for a national conference on museum security.
“We need to look at how museums can protect their objects from such brutal activities while still being accessible to the public in the normal way,” she said.

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Stolen Art Watch, Dresden Green Vault Heist, Who Did It ?

Criminals large families: Where in Germany what are the Clans have to Say


With the deportation of a leading Bremer Clan member in the Lebanon this week, the topic of criminals, puts families back into focus. How is the situation in the whole of Germany – and in which regions the phenomenon of the Clan, it is common to crime? An Overview of some of these large families and police actions against members of such Clans are:
When talking about Clan-crime in Germany, then two of the most brazen acts quickly get out of this and the last year has been stolen in the sense: As this may, from a Berlin primary school is a work of art, the state office of criminal investigation quickly a well-known large family in the suspicion that the “family R”, such as the “Berliner Morgenpost” reported. The stolen “gold nest” should be about 80,000 euros in value. Even more rewarding is the theft of a 100-Kilo gold coin from the Bode-Museum in Berlin-Mitte in March 2017. The material value of the “Big Maple Leaf” will then have 3.75 million euros. Where the coin is today, don’t know the police. Melted down and made into money, it is suspected. Money that you can invest prima – in real estate, for example.
However, such spectacular cases are not the Bulk of the illegal transactions of criminals, members of large families – usually consist, according to investigators from the fraud, extortion, burglaries, thefts, drug trafficking and Prostitution.

night-and-fog action

Leading the Miri-Clan-member from Bremen deported

dpa police actions against criminal families
With illegal activities, it Makes such large families in many regions of Germany, and wealth. The state has sent to break this Power, and recently had several calls to the deportation of one of the leading heads of a Lebanese clan from Bremen in the middle of the week belonged to. The Person had been “obliged to leave the country,” said a spokeswoman for the Bremen Department of interior on Thursday. From media reports, that this “obligation to leave” already existed for a good 13 years.
another spectacular use, there was over a year ago in Berlin. There were seized at a large-scale action real estate is in the million value. This, too, is regarded as a significant blow to the Clan-crime in Germany.
But what the large families, and in which areas of Germany family members are criminal activities? A spokeswoman for the Federal criminal police office on star-demand in Berlin, North Rhine-Westphalia and Bremen, as the focus of the Clan-crime – a General Overview for the whole of Germany, the authority has not. As with all police powers, the Clan-crime countries thing. And the number of people counted on these networks, are usually appraised values.
Berlin: the capital of The Clans in Germany
The German capital is regarded in this country as the main location for criminals from large families. There, according to media reports, up to 20 such Clans. Particularly well known is the Abou-Chakers – also because of the friendship and subsequent enmity between the Rapper Bushido and Clan-chief Arafat Abou-Chaker, against the investigators in the past few years, more than 30 methods have hard are.
The Abou-Chakers come originally from Lebanon and immigrated in the 80s to Germany. You are in Berlin, the most famous of the Clan – the largest but they are not.
star talk

separation of Arafat Abou-Chaker

Bushido: “If anything happens to me, is taken care of for my family”

Bigger the Rammo-Clan is supposed to be, sometimes Remmo-Clan written – with an estimated 500 members, about twice as large as the Abou-Chakers. Known to the family Union, and also by his involvement in the Rapper scene. Bushido makes according to his own statement in the star after his break with Arafat Abou-Chaker now with a family member of Ashraf Rammo shops.
But in the music Business, including the Management of artists belongs to, does not appear to be part of the business of members of this family: A LKA-report listed in the past year 1146 of the operations on, in which members of the family Rammo were considered as suspects.
In the summer of 2018, there was the already mentioned use in Berlin: investigators seized 77 real estate this large family of more than nine million euros: money laundering is suspected. According to the LKA, the Clan is suspected of criminal profits in the amount of 28 million euros scammed. Money that should be invested in the family in those properties.
And finally, three members of the Clan are just currently due to the downturn in the Bode-Museum in front of the court, in which those gigantic gold coin was stolen. According to current planning, is expected to fall according to a court spokeswoman at the end of September a judgment.

separation of Arafat Abou-Chaker

Bushido and his wife Anna-Maria from the pack: “We will not allow ourselves to be more intimidating”

the Rammo family immigrated in the 80s, during the Lebanese civil war, to Germany. They were, so read it again and again in the media, stateless, and were originally from the area of today’s Southeast Turkey. Arrived in Germany, they were safe from war and violence, but at the time, initially no permission to work in the Federal Republic of Germany, and also the children were not subject to in the new home first, the school duty. Both circumstances are considered to be one of the reasons that a number of the former immigrants from Lebanon entry into the criminal Milieu and the emergence of a criminal parallel society in Germany.
A further in Berlin, well-known Clan Name in Berlin, the Miris – a in Germany, wide-branched family with loud “welt.de” an estimated 2500 members are. However, the Miris should have their focus in Bremen.
Bremen: home base of the Miri-clan
Bremen Miri-Clan is a family, which immigrated in the 80s, from Lebanon to Germany. Family members of the Miris is accused of Organised crime in various areas. But also in the Hanseatic city, the authorities try, the criminal activities of the clan curb. So it was on Thursday, first through the “image”newspaper known that one of the leading heads of this criminal has a big family and chief of the Bremen forbidden Chapters of the motorcycle club, Mongols MC in the early Morning at 3.40 PM in his at home. Then, the 46-Year-old was deported to Lebanon, and, accompanied by elite police officers, there flew out. The action are supposed to have authorities from Bremen, Berlin, and the Federal government working together in Secret for months.
North Rhine-Westphalia: Over a Hundred of families and thousands of crimes
North Rhine-with its many Metropolitan areas, the first state to the presented recently a comprehensive picture of the situation to the Clan-crime – and with spectacular data was the talk of the made Westphalia. After the middle of may, the study presented 104 Turkish goods in the past two years-Arabic immigrant families in the state for 14.225 crimes responsible, especially food as the focus of the clan crime, followed by Recklinghausen, Gelsenkirchen, Duisburg and other Ruhr area cities.
Also in the Ruhr area, many of these people came in the 80s and 90s over Lebanon. And also, you are originally from the Ottoman Empire, today’s Turkey. Clan name lists the picture of the situation – the police in Germany is called, for reasons of privacy protection, generally, no such name, of which there are also all sorts of spellings. But observers of the scene will know who is meant, if in the NRW collection abbreviations of the family names are called as “Clan O”, “E”, “A.”, “K”, “S”, “I”, “F”, “Ta”, “R” or “T”.

Criminal Clans

Scam: Driving in Germany to know thousands without traffic rules?

As one of the larger clan families , the family Al-Zein , sometimes El is Zein wrote. She has, according to media Compounds according to Berlin reports, but should be, especially in Essen and Duisburg widely used. Also the Name Omeirat is considered to be a term in the Ruhr area, which was also in Bremen and Berlin-based Miris .
in Total, were assigned to the 104 clan in NRW 6449 suspects in the investigated period. You have to do it not with “egg thieves or tobacco smugglers”, said the then Minister of the interior, Herbert Reul (CDU) at the presentation of the management report. More than a third of the identified offences were threats, coercion, robbery and dangerous bodily injury. Among the legal and illegal areas of business in which family members are active, according to the report, the motor Vehicle trade and rental, key services, as well as the drugs and red light district. It is often used to hookah Bars for criminal transactions.
Postmarked by the last name
However, of course, anyone who is wearing one of the infamous last name, or from one of these large and widely branched families, not a Clan-Criminal. Also article on the topic back again. The Green Essen Alderman Ahmad Omeirat, who came as a child from Lebanon to Germany, is supposed to be a model example for Integration, Sr., But he met with hostility by his own admission again and again – because he bears the surname Omeirat.
sources: “Berliner Morgenpost”, “Bild-Zeitung”, “WAZ”, Ralf Ghadban: “to integrate the Lebanon-refugees yet?”, “Clan crime management report NRW 2018”, “Welt.de”
topics in this article with Make family Germany Berlin Bremen Lebanon, LKA North Rhine-Westphalia police of North Rhine-Westphalia, Bushido Berliner Morgenpost Berlin-Mitte drug Offense Arafat Abou-Chaker Bild-Zeitung

Monday, November 25, 2019

Stolen Art Watch, Gardner Art Heist Has Pretender To Billion Dollar Throne, Green Vault Dresden, Were They Children, Artful Dodger & Oliver Twist ?

Diamond thieves steal jewellery 'worth up to a BILLION EUROS' from German museum in possibly world's biggest heist after making off with three 'priceless' sets commissioned by 18th century royalty

  • The Green Vault in Dresden was targeted by thieves early on Monday morning
  • It is believed they shut off an electricity supply and broke in through a window 
  • Reports in Germany say the treasures stolen may be worth up to a billion euros
Diamond thieves stole three 'priceless' sets of 18th-century jewellery from a German museum in an early-morning raid today. 
The Green Vault in Dresden has suffered an 'immeasurable' loss after burglars broke into the building in the early hours of this morning, officials said. 
The thieves switched off a power supply at 5am before breaking through a window into a museum which once boasted it was 'as secure as Fort Knox', it is believed.
Once inside, they stole three jewellery ensembles which were commissioned by Saxony's former ruler Augustus the Strong in an 18th-century show of power. 
Museum experts have said the items are priceless and could never be sold, but Bild reported that up to a billion euros' worth of treasures may have been stolen - which would make it the biggest art heist in history. 
Two thieves were seen on CCTV cameras inside the museum but they escaped in a getaway car and a manhunt has so far proved fruitless.  
Stolen: A cabinet of 18th-century jewellery which was smashed open and looted by burglars at a German museum today, causing an 'immeasurable' loss
Stolen: A cabinet of 18th-century jewellery which was smashed open and looted by burglars at a German museum today, causing an 'immeasurable' loss 
Investigation: A police officer wearing gloves and a mask works at the crime scene outside Dresden's royal palace this morning following the break-in
Investigation: A police officer wearing gloves and a mask works at the crime scene outside Dresden's royal palace this morning following the break-in
Means of entry? A window at the side of the building where the thieves - who were said to be noticeably small - are feared to have forced their way inside
Means of entry? A window at the side of the building where the thieves - who were said to be noticeably small - are feared to have forced their way inside  
Sealed off: A police officer mans a cordon outside the Green Vault museum in Dresden, eastern Germany, this morning following what could be a record art theft
Sealed off: A police officer mans a cordon outside the Green Vault museum in Dresden, eastern Germany, this morning following what could be a record art theft 
At a press conference this afternoon, museum director Marion Ackermann said she was 'shocked' by the 'brutality' of the break-in. 
Thieves smashed into a glass cabinet and made off with three sets of jewellery which were made for Augustus the Strong, the elector of Saxony in the 18th century, she explained. 
Augustus competed with French monarch Louis XIV to assemble the most extravagant jewellery, she explained, describing the items stolen as 'state treasures of the 18th century'. 
Augustus, who was elector of Saxony from 1694 to 1733 and also king of Poland for much of that time, established Dresden as a cultural centre and founded the museum which was targeted today. 
The material worth of the jewellery was less important than the fact that the jewels had come as a set, Ackermann said. 
Asked about the suggested value of a billion euros (£850million), she said the value of the items stolen could not be quantified. 
'We’re dealing with priceless artistic and cultural treasures,' she told reporters in Dresden this afternoon. 'We cannot give a value because it is impossible to sell.'
Appealing to the thieves not to destroy the objects or melt them down, she said the jewellery was of 'inestimable cultural and historical value' and could never be sold on the open market. 
Police say they were alerted to the break-in at 4.59am and suspect that the thieves were behind an electrical fire which broke out nearby.   
Shutting off the electricity may have helped the burglars to disable the museum's alarm systems and also left the area in darkness.  
Targeted: Visitors at the Green Vault in Dresden where thieves are feared to have stolen up to a billion euros' worth of treasure in an early-morning heist today
Targeted: Visitors at the Green Vault in Dresden where thieves are feared to have stolen up to a billion euros' worth of treasure in an early-morning heist today

A map showing where the break-in took place this morning and the bridge where the thieves are believed to have cut off a power supply to help them gain entry 
Forensic investigation: A specialist police officer arrives near Dresden's former royal palace to investigate the theft today
Forensic investigation: A specialist police officer arrives near Dresden's former royal palace to investigate the theft today 
Inquiry: Police officers work behind a cordon tape at the museum, which was closed to visitors today after the early-morning break-in
Inquiry: Police officers work behind a cordon tape at the museum, which was closed to visitors today after the early-morning break-in 
Police tape hangs across a doorway at the Dresden museum, where thieves broke in after the power supply was stopped and a fire broke out
Police tape hangs across a doorway at the Dresden museum, where thieves broke in after the power supply was stopped and a fire broke out 
In addition, a burned-out vehicle was discovered nearby and detectives are now trying to track down the owner to establish whether the fire was related to the theft. 
Reports in Germany say the thieves were 'noticeably small' and able to fit through a tiny space in a window.  
At the press conference, police said that the smashed cabinet had been made of special safety glass but that it was unclear how the thieves had broken it. 
Detectives are now examining the video footage on which two people are seen, but others may have been waiting outside to help them escape in a getaway car.  
A getaway car could have been well on its way to the motorway within minutes of leaving the museum, they warned.  
State police officers are now at the crime scene as they investigate how the thieves got inside and stole the jewellery. 
'We have not identified a perpetrator and nor have we yet made any arrests,' police spokesman Marko Laske said.  
A notice on the museum's website this morning states only that the building is closed today for 'organisational reasons'.  
Doors closed: A sign at the entrance of the Green Vault informs visitors that no tickets are available today following the break-in on Monday morning
Doors closed: A sign at the entrance of the Green Vault informs visitors that no tickets are available today following the break-in on Monday morning 
Search for evidence: A police officer scours the steps of the Dresden royal palace for evidence on Monday morning following a 5am raid on the museum
Search for evidence: A police officer scours the steps of the Dresden royal palace for evidence on Monday morning following a 5am raid on the museum 
Search: A German policeman looks for evidence outside the Dresden royal palace which houses the Green Vault where thieves staged a break-in this morning
Search: A German policeman looks for evidence outside the Dresden royal palace which houses the Green Vault where thieves staged a break-in this morning 
Crime scene: A police van parks outside the historic museum today following a break-in
Crime scene: A police van parks outside the historic museum today following a break-in 
A view of Dresden's former royal palace today where the collection of treasures is on display
A view of Dresden's former royal palace today where the collection of treasures is on display 
Targeted: Visitors at the Green Vault in Dresden where thieves are feared to have stolen up to a billion euros' worth of treasure in an early-morning heist today
Targeted: Visitors at the Green Vault in Dresden where thieves are feared to have stolen up to a billion euros' worth of treasure in an early-morning heist today 
'Not only our state collections but we the people of Saxony have been robbed,' said regional premier Michael Kretschmer. 
'You cannot understand the history of our state without the Green Vault. The treasures found there were made by the hard work of people in our state.'  
The security measures at the museum had appeared to be in order and 'comprehensive', he said. 
State interior minister Roland Woeller said it was a 'bitter day for the cultural heritage of Saxony'. 
The thieves 'stole cultural treasures of immeasurable worth - that is not only the material worth but also the intangible worth to the state of Saxony, which is impossible to estimate,' he said. 
A €1billion art theft would be comfortably the largest in history, surpassing the $500million raid on the Gardner Museum in Boston nearly 30 years ago. 
Two thieves disguised as police officers stole 13 works of art from the Boston museum in March 1990 and the crime remains unsolved.  
The Dresden museum was founded by in 1723 and houses thousands of items including historic coins and jewellery.  
However, one of its most valuable treasures - a 41-carat naturally green diamond called the Dresden Green - is currently out on loan in New York. 
The museum did not put a current value on the piece, but said that at the time of its purchase it cost 400,000 thalers, compared to the 288,000 thalers it cost to build the city's lavish Frauenkirche church at around the same time. 
A police van parks outside the Green Vault museum in Dresden today following a burglary of items feared to be worth up to a billion euros (£850million)
A police van parks outside the Green Vault museum in Dresden today following a burglary of items feared to be worth up to a billion euros (£850million) 
Presence: A police officer walks through the gates of the city palace today in Dresden where authorities are investigating a massive art theft
Presence: A police officer walks through the gates of the city palace today in Dresden where authorities are investigating a massive art theft 
Dresden's former royal palace - the home of the former electors and kings of Saxony in the centuries before Germany was unified - is seen today
Dresden's former royal palace - the home of the former electors and kings of Saxony in the centuries before Germany was unified - is seen today 
Dresden's Green Vault takes its name from the green-coloured columns and decoration in rooms such as this one
Dresden's Green Vault takes its name from the green-coloured columns and decoration in rooms such as this one 
VIP visitors: German chancellor Angela Merkel hosted then-US president Barack Obama at the Green Vault in Dresden in 2009 (pictured)
VIP visitors: German chancellor Angela Merkel hosted then-US president Barack Obama at the Green Vault in Dresden in 2009 (pictured) 
The museum also houses include a 25-inch figure of a Moor studded with emeralds and a 648-carat sapphire gifted by Tsar Peter I of Russia at a meeting in 1698.
Other valuable items include a jewel-studded sculpture of an Indian royal court, made out of gold, silver, enamel, precious stones and pearls.
Another is a 1701 golden coffee service by court jeweller Johann Melchior Dinglinger, decorated with lounging cherubs. 
In 2010, then-museum director Martin Roth boasted in an interview with Die Welt that the Green Vault was 'as secure as Fort Knox'. 
Roth explained how the vault was protected by 'invisible' security systems, but warned that the biggest danger was information leaking out from inside.  
The collection dates back to 1723, while the Dresden royal palace which houses it was first built in 1533 as the home for the electors and later kings of Saxony. 
The Green Vault gets its name from the green-coloured columns and decoration in some of the rooms.  
A police officer kneels down by the steps of the royal palace today as he investigates the break-in at Dresden's Green Vault
A police officer kneels down by the steps of the royal palace today as he investigates the break-in at Dresden's Green Vault 
Police officers outside the entrance to the Green Vault
A police officer works at a cordon outside Dresden's former royal palace
Pictured left: Police officers outside the entrance to the Green Vault this morning; right: an investigator works at the scene of a cordon 
Treasures: Visitors look at the collection in Dresden's Green Vault which dates back to the 18th century and contains thousands of items
Treasures: Visitors look at the collection in Dresden's Green Vault which dates back to the 18th century and contains thousands of items 
Precious: Some of the gemstones in the museum's collection are seen in this file picture
Precious: Some of the gemstones in the museum's collection are seen in this file picture 
The museum and palace were rebuilt after the devastating Allied bombing of Dresden in World War II. Some of the items were looted by Soviet troops in 1945, but later returned. 
Only part of the collection was on display during the Cold War, when Dresden was part of communist East Germany. 
However, the museum was extensively rebuilt in the 2000s and its two exhibitions now form one of the 'best-preserved treasuries in Europe', its website says. 
Angela Merkel hosted then-US President Barack Obama there in 2009 during his early months in office.  
In 2017, a 220lb gold coin the size of a manhole cover was stolen from a Berlin museum and is feared to have been melted down. 
Prosecutors allege that the burglars broke into the museum through an upstairs window and used a ladder, wheelbarrow and rope to extract the coin. A trial remains underway.

Art Hostage Comments:

The two Dresden Green Vault Museum raiders were called "Artful Dodger" and "Oliver Twist"

Perhaps a couple of children used to get into the small places?

Historically, Criminals from places such a Romania use children in crime because they can get into small places.

Furthermore, the current trial of the Remmo family in Berlin for the theft of the gold coin from the Bode Museum might be linked to this heist.

Will there be a deal offered by the Remmo family, whereby indictments are dropped to recover the Dresden Green Vault diamonds?

Interesting article abut the ongoing trial in Berlin:

https://coinsweekly.com/why-there-is-still-no-verdict-in-the-trial-of-the-stolen-100-kilogram-maple-leaf/

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Stolen Art Watch, David Turner Released, Gardner Art Remains Elusive



    Man suspected in Gardner museum heist set free


    David Turner, a longtime suspect in the Gardner museum heist, was released from federal custody after serving nearly 21 years for plotting to rob an armored car facility in 1999.
    David Turner, a longtime suspect in the Gardner museum heist, was released from federal custody after serving nearly 21 years for plotting to rob an armored car facility in 1999.Jonathan Wiggs/Globe Staff/Globe Staff
    On a cold February day in 1999, David Turner and several accomplices, armed with a hand grenade and six guns, were on their way to rob an armored car depot in Easton when they were arrested in an FBI sting.
    Agents told Turner he was a suspect in the infamous 1990 art heist at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum and could receive leniency if he returned the stolen masterpieces, according to court records. But Turner insisted he knew nothing about the theft and was sentenced to 38 years in prison for attempting to rob the armored car facility and firearms charges — which included a mandatory 30 years because the crew had a hand grenade.



    Several years ago, the government secretly got that sentence trimmed by seven years, making him eligible for release in 2025. Federal authorities declined to say whether Turner had agreed to help authorities recover the artwork, which includes works by Rembrandt and Vermeer and is worth an estimated $500 million.
    The masterworks have never been recovered. But on Wednesday, Turner, 52, his dark hair now tinged with gray, walked out of Boston’s federal court a free man after a judge ruled during a resentencing hearing that the 21 years he already served were enough.
    “I deeply regret the actions I took and the choices I made,” the Braintree native told US District Judge Richard G. Stearns. “I am no longer that person. I cannot change the past, but I have tried my best to change my future.”
    Stearns, who had presided over Turner’s trial decades ago, had vacated his prison term last month in light of Supreme Court rulings that have eased federal sentencing guidelines. On Wednesday, Stearns sentenced Turner to the time he had already served and ordered his release.
    “It’s rare for me to be fully confident someone has fully rehabilitated himself,” he said to Turner. “I believe you have and commend you for it.”



    Last month, Stearns ordered the release of one of Turner’s codefendants, Stephen Rossetti, after ruling that he no longer qualified as an armed career criminal based on recent court decisions.
    On Wednesday, Stearns rejected the prosecution’s request to extend Turner’s sentence another 18 months, instead placing him on probation for three years. He said it was the first time he had ever received letters written in support of an inmate on resentencing from Bureau of Prisons employees.
    “What somebody does over time to rehabilitate himself does count for something,” Stearns said, adding that Turner “has done what I would expect from someone who did want to change his life.”
    Turner was transferred to Federal Medical Center Devens four years ago to undergo cervical spinal surgery and after his recovery volunteered as a hospital companion, providing hospice care for critically ill inmates, according to a sentencing memorandum filed by his attorney, Robert Goldstein. Previously, while at a New York federal penitentiary, Turner was an instructor for the Victim Impact Program.
    Stearns said he was also impressed that Turner had participated in 58 educational programs in prison, ranging from vocational classes to Spanish and sign language courses.
    Assistant US Attorney Robert Richardson said Turner should serve additional time in prison because of the “overall brazen and violent nature” of the 1999 plot to rob a Loomis-Fargo facility of an estimated $50 million. It was thwarted because the FBI had informants working with the crew and planted bugs that captured Turner and his accomplices planning the crime.



    FBI agents began targeting Turner and one of his codefendants, Carmello Merlino, a Dorchester repair shop owner with Mafia ties, in the early 1990s because they believed they could lead them to the stolen Gardner art.
    In the early morning hours of March 18, 1990, two thieves dressed as police officers talked their way into the Gardner museum, tied up the guards, and fled with 13 pieces of artwork.
    Merlino died in prison in 2005, but Turner’s suspected involvement in the ongoing Gardner investigation surfaced three years ago in federal court proceedings in Hartford involving Robert Gentile, a Connecticut mobster who was suspected by the FBI of having access to the stolen paintings.
    In late 2010, Turner wrote Gentile from prison, instructing him to call Turner’s girlfriend. She then asked Gentile to meet with two of Turner’s associates about recovering the artwork, Gentile’s lawyer said.
    Gentile, who was cooperating with the FBI then, refused to meet with the pair and introduce them to an FBI informant because he feared for his safety, according to court filings.
    Gentile, who was snared in two FBI stings designed to pressure him into recovering the artwork, was released from prison in March after serving 4½ years on gun charges.
    In a brief telephone interview Tuesday, Gentile’s attorney, A. Ryan McGuigan, said his client has no information about the stolen artwork, but he suggested that Turner did, at least at one time


    “Based on the information that I have seen in disclosures from the government, also from third-party sources, it’s fairly apparent that the last living person to have possession of the paintings is David Turner,” McGuigan said.
    He also said Gentile would be willing to meet with Turner to talk about the missing artwork if he’s interested. The museum is offering a $10 million reward for the safe return of the masterworks.
    Outside the courtroom, Turner’s lawyer declined to comment on the paintings or allegations that Turner may have been involved in the heist.
    Dressed in a gray sweatsuit, Turner left the courthouse with his girlfriend. Asked by a reporter how it felt to be free, he replied, “Wonderful. I’m going to Disneyland.”
    He declined further comment.

  • TennisAnyone
    “The Under Seal World of the Boston Globe”

    From this article: "Several years ago, the government secretly trimmed that sentence by seven years, making him eligible for release in 2025." Why several years ago, why not exact date? Because it never happened.

    Last month when Turner's criminal associate Rossetti was released the Globe reported: “In recent years, the government quietly reduced Turner’s prison term by seven years, for reasons that remain under seal, raising questions about whether he had agreed to help authorities try to recover the artwork. He is scheduled to be released in March 2025.”

    Hm. “quietly,” the Globe states, but when this story was first reported in the Globe in 2016, it was said they had “secretly” reduced his sentence. Now it is merely quietly.

    Is that supposed to be an actual phenomenon, federal inmates bartering time after they have begun their sentence for information about other crimes? Judges have the power to secretly reduce sentences and keep that reduction under seal?

    Why would Turner wait until after serving ten years to share what information he had?

    A guy who has already been incarcerated 20 years for an attempted armed robbery had a sentence reduction?

    From the Globe 2016 : "There are no details about Turner’s sentence reduction on his criminal case docket in federal court in Boston, indicating that records relating to the reduction are sealed.

    Indicating to whom? And three years later the “indicated” in the Globe had evolved into an established fact, David Turner’s sentence had been reduced and the reduction had been sealed.

    An alternative possibility is that Turner did not get a secret, quiet or any sentence reduction since the Boston Globe acknowledged in 2016, “the only public record of Turner’s reduced sentence is the Bureau of Prisons website.

    So the records are sealed, but somebody sent the information to the people at the public Bureau of Prison website, who dutifully updated their record, we can presume "secretly" or at the very least “quietly.”

    Last Seen Podcast said that in 2016 Shelley Murphy, who wrote this story “made a sharp discovery: “I was hearing some things about whether or not he might cooperate,” Murphy said, “and I looked at the Bureau of Prisons' website, which shows a release date. And when I looked at it, I knew. I said that wasn't the release date that was there before. And I noticed that the release date had changed. So that's how I saw it, that I knew that he initially was supposed to get out on one date. And suddenly, they just took off a bunch of years.”

    “Suddenly,” but the Boston Globe twice in 2013 reported the, sentenced reduced, 2025 release year for Turner, including one story that had Shelley Murphy on the byline.The claim hinges on something Murphy thinks she remembered from a website over three years previously.

    Furthermore the BOP.gov that serves as the sole source for the Boston Globe’s secret sentence reduction states that: “the projected release date displayed reflects the inmate's statutory release date (expiration full term minus good conduct time)” and not the full sentence the person received from the judge. https://www.bop.gov/inmateloc/about_records.jsp

    The Globe which cannot even get Turner, his lawyer or anyone in government to acknowledge that he received a sentence reduction, which could also be for a variety of other things given his prolific record, reported last month that this sentence reduction “is raising questions about whether he had agreed to help authorities try to recover the artwork.”

    Raising questions with whom? The authorities know if he received a sentence reduction and for what reason. Raising questions with nonexistent inquisitors, who would know anyway, over a nonexistent sentence reduction, possibly, possibly, because of his nonexistent connection to the Gardner Museum Heist. A trifecta!

    Welcome to Chernobyl https://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2019/10/04/after-years-prison-stephen-rossetti-goes-free-bu-gardner-art-heist-remains-unsolved/hh9zpoPvTq5b2iCLnV3ctM/story.html  


Thursday, November 07, 2019

Stolen Art Watch, Gardner Art Heist, "Thirty Years Since", 1990-2020, Circus Roadshow Begins Four Months Early

The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum Heist: How Two Men Stole $600 Million Worth Of Art

A saga that runs for almost thirty years that involves the FBI, the mafia, and upwards of half a billion in stolen art.
https://www.bosshunting.com.au/culture/isabella-stewart-gardner-museum-heist-story

It was almost too simple of an idea. Perhaps that was the beauty of it all... because it actually worked. What's even more incredible was how much they escaped with.
This is the story behind the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum heist - the largest theft of private property in American history with an estimated value of US$600 million. And (spoiler alert) it remains unsolved to this day.

The night of the disappearance


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March 18th, 1990. Sunday morning. 12:30 AM. It's the early hours of the day after St. Patrick's Day. The perfect time to commit a high-profile crime. Any would-be witnesses are deeply inebriated at this point, more so as the target in question is at the heart of Boston. A stronghold for the working class and Irish-Catholic guilt - both known to induce a certain thirst.

In less than an hour later, two men dressed as police officers would arrive at the side entrance of the Gardner Museum in a hatchback. Any sober person would be suspicious of police officers in an unmarked hatchback, but there were no sober individuals in sight. The two men buzzed the museum's intercom system and explained they were called to investigate a disturbance. Fearing a St. Patrick's Day reveller had breached the newly bolstered security measures, the Gardener Museum's nightwatchmen let them in. This is where the real finesse began.

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Once in the building, the thieves demanded that all personnel return to the security desk. While the one other guard was radioed to return, the guard that had let the thieves in was lured away from the desk where the only panic button was located. It was a matter of roughly ten minutes before both guards were handcuffed, bound and blinded with duct tape, and left tethered helplessly in the basement as the daring criminal duo began to work their way through to the multi-million dollar goods.
From there, it became more of a smash-and-grab affair. The thieves broke the glass frames and used a blade to cut the canvases out of their stretches. And they were smart about it too.
Among the most notable half-finished lifts was a large Rembrandt oil painting with wood instead of canvas, taken off the wall and left to lean against a cabinet; a detail that lends itself to the theory that their manpower was limited to the two individuals who had made it in, thereby forcing them to only take what was easiest to transport.
This detail also supports the theory that there was no definitive plan to target specific artworks prior to entering the museum (but more on this later).

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The final stage before the thieves made their seamless exit involved a bit of courteous housekeeping. They made sure the guards were comfortable (actually asked them if they were still comfortable, in fact), then made their way to the security director's office where they removed footage from closed-circuit camera and data print-outs of the motion sensors. The entire robbery lasted eighty-one minutes in total.

The $600 million haul

The haul was mindblowing. The thieves made it out with:
  • The Concert by Vermeer
  • The Storm on the Sea of Galilee by Rembrandt
  • A Lady and Gentleman in Black by Rembrandt 
  • Self-Portrait by Rembrandt
  • Landscape with Obelisk by Flinck 
  • Chez Tortoni by Manet 
  • La Sortie de Pesage by Degas
  • Cortege aux Environs de Florence by Degas
  • Program for an Artistic Soiree 1 by Degas
  • Program for an Artistic Soiree 2 by Degas
  • Three Mounted Jockeys by Degas
  • An ancient Chinese gu
  • And a French Imperial Eagle finial
Initially, the FBI had valued the collection of thirteen stolen artworks to be worth somewhere around US$200 million. That estimate was later raised to US$500 million by 2000, and currently, suggestions indicate the true value could be worth closer to a staggering US$600 million. Certainly enough to justify being labelled the largest theft of private property in American history.
Vermeer's The Concert alone is worth half of the total value, with an estimated value of US$250 million back in 2015. The scale and magnitude of this haul is truly in a league of its own.

Where the trail runs cold


0807-gardner-03

In criminal investigation, the key to uncovering the story and building a case requires means, motive, and opportunity. The means and opportunity are both fairly clear. But what has remained a mystery is the motive (beyond getting their hands on something of insane value). And that's where the trail runs cold.
For law enforcement to figure out the 'who', they needed to understand the 'why'. The problem being the 'why' has become muddled with far-flung and fantastical theories involving the Boston Mafia, the IRA, maybe Whitey Bulger, and prison breaks.
To make things even more difficult, aside from witness descriptions of one thief being "... about 5'9"–5'10" in his late 30s with a medium build..." and the other as "... 6'–6'1" in his early 30s with a heavier build..." - there really are no further leads. No useful DNA evidence. No fingerprints that match any star suspects. Not even a convincing accusation that hasn't been shot down by a iron-clad alibi.

One prevailing theory is that a gangster by the name of Bobby Donati orchestrated the heist in an effort to negotiate the release of his boss from prison. The chances of verifying this have since diminished significantly, as Donati was murdered a year after the robbery due to a gang war within the Patriarca crime family.

Bobby-Donati-1000x568

Yet another theory - which has a bit more weight to it given the advocacy by individuals such as former Scotland Yard detective turned private investigator, Charles Hill - points to James 'Whitey' Bulger as the key to it all.
Bulger was the most powerful criminal figure in Boston at the time of the heist, and Hill believes the haul was handed over to an IRA-affiliated gang in Ireland as part of some deal. Bulger also had a strong connection with the local police force, which would explain how the thieves acquired bona fide uniforms. Though he obviously claimed to have no knowledge of the theft and even feigned outrage as it occurred on this 'turf' without proper tribute being paid. The chances of verifying this has also diminished significantly, as Bulger was murdered in prison while serving his sentence two years ago.
If you take the time to search independently, you'll find virtually endless branches of theories and suspects. None of which have ever been proven nor further illuminated the issue at hand.

Here's where it gets even wilder...


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Suspects have been offered everything from reward money to freedom in exchange for useful information - but none have ever revealed anything of use. Setting this aside, Federal prosecutors have stated on the record that anyone who voluntarily returns the stolen artwork will not be prosecuted, as the statute of limitations expired in 1995 - meaning the thieves and anyone else who participated in this heist cannot be prosecuted.
Yet in the current year of 2019, authorities are still none the wiser. Even with the exorbitant bounty of US$10 million simply for any information that could lead to the thirteen artwork's recovery, the ongoing investigation has yielded nought. Keep in mind that those who were involved could claim this very bounty themselves beyond the cold, harsh reproach of the law.
To date, none of the thirteen stolen pieces have ever resurfaced. And given the profile of this unprecedented heist, whoever is in possession of them would be wise to never let them resurface.
What we know for sure is that they must have a high appreciation for the arts - or else they would be virtually worthless sitting in a vault somewhere. Anyone who was in on this purely for the money would have surely surrendered it at the first chance of the reward; and there have been multiple chances, each one without legal repercussions post-1995. And if they'd popped up on the black market at any point, someone would be talking about it, especially since it's not just a single artwork.
Or, we can subscribe to the theories that speculate they were used as a bargaining chip.
Either way, it begs the $600 million question that hundreds before us have had...
What the hell happened to the artworks?

Saturday, October 05, 2019

Stolen Art Watch, Gardner Art Heist, Rossetti Released, Gardner Art Spectre Looms Large !!

After 20 years in prison, Stephen Rossetti goes free — but Gardner art heist remains unsolved

In the Dutch Room at the Isabella Stewart Gardner museum, two empty frames hang to indicate some of the pieces of art that have never been returned after a heist in 1990. On Thursday, a career criminal tied to the theft was released from prison.
In the Dutch Room at the Isabella Stewart Gardner museum, two empty frames hang to indicate some of the pieces of art that have never been returned after a heist in 1990. On Thursday, a career criminal tied to the theft was released from prison.The Boston Globe
Two decades ago, FBI agents began targeting Carmello Merlino, suspecting that the Dorchester repair shop owner with Mafia ties could lead them to masterpieces stolen from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum during a brazen 1990 heist.
Efforts to recover the artwork were unsuccessful, but the agents foiled a plot by Merlino and his crew to rob an Easton armored car depot in 1999. They arrested two of Merlino’s accomplices on their way to the depot in a car loaded with guns and a hand grenade.
Merlino died in prison in 2005, taking any secrets he may have known about the whereabouts of the stolen paintings with him.


But on Thursday, one of Merlino’s accomplices in the attempted armored car depot robbery was back in federal court in Boston, before the same judge who had sentenced him to nearly 52 years in prison for that crime.
Only this time, Stephen Rossetti, now 60, walked out of court a free man.

“Mr. Rossetti, it’s been a long time,” US District Judge Richard Stearns said as he took the bench Thursday for a resentencing hearing. “Twenty years later, we’re in the same place.”
Rossetti’s initial sentence included a mandatory 30 years in prison because he was designated an armed career criminal. Combined with his sentence for the attempted robbery, that made him ineligible for release until 2044.
But, after a string of Supreme Court rulings involving federal sentencing guidelines, Stearns vacated Rossetti’s sentence last year after concluding that he no longer qualified as an armed career criminal.
“As far as I’m concerned, Mr. Rossetti, you’ve served enough time,” Stearns said. He noted that Rossetti had already served 20 years, well beyond what current guidelines call for.
“I sincerely regret my criminal past,” Rossetti told the judge before he was sentenced, as his son and a handful of other relatives and friends looked on. “Allow me to be a good citizen.”


Assistant US Attorney David Tobin had urged Stearns to send Rossetti back to prison for 10 more years, arguing that he had led “a life of crime” before plotting to rob the armored car depot. He described Rossetti as “the armorer” who brought a hand grenade and other weapons for the attack.
“We believe he continues to pose a threat to society, it’s just that simple,” Tobin said.
Rossetti, who is from East Boston, had previously been convicted of a variety of crimes, including an armored car robbery.
But Judith Mizner, a veteran criminal defense lawyer who represents Rossetti, said he had not been cited with a single disciplinary infraction during his years in federal prison, which she described as remarkable. Federal prisons she noted, “are not the easiest places in the world to stay out of trouble.”
She refuted the prosecutor’s claim that Rossetti posed a threat and said he had participated in more than 40 educational programs during his time in prison. His parents and wife died while he was incarcerated.
It took several hours for the Bureau of Prisons to process Rossetti’s release, but just before sunset, he strolled out of the courthouse and into a gleaming Seaport District that didn’t even exist when he went away.
Only one of Rossetti’s codefendants, David Turner, remains in prison. After his arrest, Turner claimed FBI agents told him they suspected he and Merlino were involved in the Gardner theft and offered to let him “walk” if he helped retrieve the stolen artwork. Turner said he told them he had no information about the heist.


In the early morning hours of March 18, 1990, two thieves dressed as police officers talked their way into the Gardner museum, tied up the guards, and fled with $500 million worth of artwork.
In recent years, the government quietly reduced Turner’s prison term by seven years, for reasons that remain under seal, raising questions about whether he had agreed to help authorities try to recover the artwork. He is scheduled to be released in March 2025.
None of the stolen artwork has been recovered, despite a $10 million reward the museum is offering for its safe return.
Rossetti, a close associate of former Mafia boss Francis “Cadillac Frank” Salemme, was in state prison when the Gardner museum was robbed. One of his attorneys, Steven Boozang, said Rossetti would never cooperate against anybody, but would have readily turned over the stolen paintings if he knew where they were.
“He would have gladly given those up to their rightful owners and went on with his life,” Boozang said.