Vermeer's The Concert

Vermeer's The Concert

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

FBI To Join Hunt For Da Vinci !!

FBI steps in to hunt for stolen £50m Madonna

PHIL MILLER, Arts Correspondent

It is one of the Scottish art world's most baffling mysteries – and has now become one of the Federal Bureau of Investigations' most urgent cases.
The FBI's art crime unit, based in Washington DC, has further highlighted the case of Leonardo da Vinci's Madonna with the Yarnwinder, stolen from the Duke of Buccleuch's Drumlanrig Castle, north of Dumfries, in 2003.

The case has moved up to seventh on the FBI's art crime most wanted list and its image is prominently displayed on the logo of its art crime unit.
Since the case appeared on the BBC Crimewatch two years ago, no developments have been announced or reported.

The FBI has classified the seriousness of the theft of the masterpiece – worth between £25m and £50m – alongside some of the most expensive and notorious art thefts worldwide, and put it on the list alongside crimes such as the large-scale looting of Iraq after the 2003 war.

During the robbery, on August 27, 2003, two men dressed as tourists taking a public tour of the castle overpowered a young tour guide and stole the painting, painted between 1500 and 1510.
With two accomplices, the men escaped in a white Volkswagen Golf, which was abandoned nearby.

It is understood the men pulled the painting from the staircase hall where it was hanging. It has been speculated the painting may have been damaged in the process, as its frame was removed.
Dumfries and Galloway police issued an appeal for information about a possible second getaway car, a black BMW spotted near Carronbridge that morning.

The FBI established its crime team in 2004. With 12 special agents responsible for investigating art crimes, it is backed up by three special attorneys from the US Department of Justice.

Experts in art theft have said they believe the painting was still somewhere in Scotland, rather than in London or abroad.

Theories of who the robbers are have run from organised crime gangs, to the IRA, to a gang of gypsies.

This week, a police spokesman said investigations were ongoing but had nothing new to add.
Anyone who has any information on the case is asked to contact police at Dumfries on 0845 600 5701.

Art Hostage comments:

Official Warning!!

In order to prevent a gun battle, and the potential loss of life, the gangs who have high value stolen art in their possession,or their control.

(You know who you are, and so does Law enforcement, Gardai, FBI, Scotland Yard Art Squad!!)

Da Vinci stolen from Scotland,£30-50 million

Paintings, including Vermeer stolen from Gardner Museum Boston, St Patrick's day 1990 £300 million

Cezanne stolen from Oxford 2000 £4-6 million

White Duck stolen from Norfolk 1994??
£5 million

Harry Hyams stolen art collection £80 million

Waddesten Manor Rothschild gold boxes.£100million

Henry Moore bronze £3.5 million
Many other stolen high value artworks.

Any attempt to hand back any of these high value art works for any, I repeat any, reward money will result in either arrests, or at the very least not a single dime, penny, euro will be paid.

My advice to you Handlers of High Value Stolen Art is to either hand the artworks back for free, or wrap them up and wait until their is a change of heart and law that will allow these artworks to be handed back in an honest way, without the sting's being planned as we speak.

My warning is because if a sting is carried through there will be a shoot out that could result in innocent people being caught in the crossfire.


"No reward money will ever be paid for stolen high value artworks and anyone who says otherwise is lying."

There are reports of up to £1 million reward offered for the Da Vinci, Mark Dalrymple, who has never stated exactly how much reward, is the loss adjuster on the Da Vinci case, unfortunetly the reward is uncollectable for me.

I was offered the Da Vinci if I put my marker on it for £100,000, then handed it back for the reward, in the same fashion as Charlie Hill recovered the Titian.

I declined, as I intend to stay within the law, however bad those laws are.

Mark Dalrymple told me not to bother as Law enforcement would not sanction any payment of reward monies without arrests and convictions, even then the likelyhood is law enforcement would not sanction a reward payment at all!

When a reward is offered there are the "Subject to" conditions, which concern condition of returned work of art and value, the primary condition is a so-called "COMFORT LETTER" from the police, stating that the person claiming the reward may be paid by the insurers/losers with the express consent of law enforcement. In order for anyone claiming a reward to get a "Comfort Letter" from police they first have to be registered as an "Informant", or "Human Source", as they are now called.

Rules on Registered Informants/Human Sources

Those who wish to destroy their lives and become informants are treated in the following manner.

First the potential Informant/Human Source meets two police officers from the "Source Unit" they only identify themselves by a psydenum such as Dick, or Bill, this prevents any fall back when the Informant gets "Hung out to Dry" The Informant never knows the real identity of his Handling officers.

Second, Police officers always make the following statement to potential Informants:

"You (the Informant) give us everything, we, (Police) give you nothing"

Third, and most importantly, when information is given to the Police by the Informant, they must tell the Police who gave them that information.

The police then duly go to that source and try and recruit that source, negating the previous informant, hence "Hung out to dry".

The Police Officers then bulldoze their way through informants getting information along the way leaving a trail of shattered lives for those who become sewer rats, Informants.

The current life expectencey for an informant is one year, the police will argue that the brief use of informants prevents corruption of its officers.

However, the amount of good quality intelligence recieved by law enforcement has been reduced by 90% in the last two years.

Losing £100,000 wouldn't hurt as much as being arrested for handing back the Da Vinci in good faith!
So, from the horses mouth, the reward for the Da Vinci, is ,uncollectable, Fact!!!!

The 2002 Proceeds of Crime act in Britain has put paid to any hand backs.

Even if someone followed instructions from Law Enforcement and set up those with the Da Vinci, then Law Enforcement arrested those handling the Da Vinci, the informant would not be paid very much and would be "Hung out to Dry" by Law Enforcement once Da Vinci is recovered.

Law Enforcement in Britain are the same as in the U.S., except for a few radical officers, who's hands are tied, the rest, by their own actions are, Dilatory, dishonest, duplicitous, and disingenuous.

Whether in America, Ireland, Europe, those of us trying to honourably facilitate the return of stolen high value art have all come to the conclusion that we will either get exposed to reprisals from criminals, Arrested, or both by Law Enforcement in the present climate.

Until there is a real change of heart, art lovers will be held Art Hostage by the criminals, but especially by Law Enforcement.

To criminals and Law Enforcement alike, if criminals are arrested for trying to hand back high value stolen art or Law Enforcement take casulties, possibly fatal, then they have no-one else to blame but themselves.

You have all been warned !!

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