Vermeer's The Concert

Vermeer's The Concert

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Stolen Art Watch, Da Vinci Theft 4 Years on !!

Police renew da Vinci theft plea

Detectives have renewed an appeal for information about the theft of a Leonardo da Vinci painting from a castle exactly four years ago.
Madonna with the Yarnwinder was stolen from Drumlanrig Castle, near Thornhill, in Dumfries and Galloway in 2003.

Detectives said they were still determined to find the painting, which belonged to the Duke of Buccleuch.

However, they admitted that they were no closer to catching the culprits, with no current lines of inquiry.

The artwork, which was painted between 1500 and 1510, had been in the Buccleuch family for almost 200 years.

Valued at about £30m, it depicts the Madonna with the infant Jesus holding a cross-shaped yarnwinder.

The painting was stolen in a raid involving four men. Two of them posed as visitors before overpowering a female staff member.

All four then made their escape in a white Volkswagen Golf, which was found abandoned nearby.

The painting was added to the FBI's list of the 10 most wanted pieces of stolen artwork in 2005.

A substantial award is available for information which leads to the recovery of the work.

Det Ch Insp Michael Dalgleish, of Dumfries and Galloway Constabulary, said: "Police in the region are still determined to recover the painting and bring those responsible for this crime to justice.

"However, we concede that there are currently no lines of investigation open to us.

"Consequently, we are renewing our appeal for information and are urging anybody who may have knowledge of the crime or whereabouts of the stolen painting to come forward."

Art Hostage comments:

Currently the Da Vinci is being held hostage by elements of Organised Crime.

The Duke of Buccleuch has purchased legal title back from the insurers, earlier this year for an undisclosed sum.

The Da Vinci was insured for the full amount, not for just £3 million as reported in the media.

The Duke of Buccleuch has a residue of £10 million plus to spend trying to recover the Da Vinci.

The Usual suspects of ex-Police art detectives have all been beating a path to the door of the Duke of Buccleuch with false promises of recovery as a lure to fund their expensive junkets.

The Duke of Buccleuch would gladly pay a reward of several million pounds to the person who reunites him with the Da Vinci.

Police however, will not issue a letter of absolute discretion, "Comfort Letter" before recovery and will refuse post-recovery.

Therefore, any payments made by the Duke of Buccleuch will be unlawful.

This unlawful act of payment is being used to lure intermediaries into a false sense of security.

Unfortunately Dick Ellis jumped the gun with his audacious recovery of the Bonnard etc and exposed the truth behind recovering stolen art lawfully.

Every negotiation about the Da Vinci is preceded by referring to the Dick Ellis Bonnard recovery and lawful contracts are being demanded under guidance of a lawyer before any more recoveries are made.

Read the account of how Dick Ellis recovered all three pictures, like taking candy from a baby, below:

Detective Sergeant Vernon Rapley current head of the diminishing Scotland Yard Art and Antiques Squad said, and I quote

"I would rather the Da Vinci not be recovered than see any reward money paid, if the Da Vinci is recovered without arrests £50 pound is all I would allow to be paid"

Mark Dalrymple, the Art Loss adjuster, who was assigned to the Da Vinci case when legal title was owned by the insurers, was purposely vague when he offered a reward, £100,000, £200,000, he even said £1 million was available as reward, when he spoke at an Art Crime conference in London.

He did concede his hands were tied and could not, under any circumstances, pay a reward without a letter of absolute discretion, comfort letter. from Police.

Anyone who pays a reward unlawfully, including the Duke of Buccleuch, leaves themselves open to prosecution and blackmail, even if this unlawful payment results in the recovery of the Da Vinci.

Lord Rothschild tried going down the direct avenue to recover his stolen gold boxes, see back-story below:

The Rothschild boxes remain outstanding and Lord Rothschild was told he faced prosecution if he privately recovered his gold boxes and paid a reward.

Perverse as it may seem, the current handlers of the Da Vinci have floated the idea within Underworld circles of stealing another high profile artwork worth millions to hold whilst the Da Vinci deal is arranged.

If the Underworld gets stung on the Da Vinci they still retain the second high value artwork.

If the Da Vinci deal goes as according to the deal, then the second artwork is returned for free.

This constant Cat and Mouse game will only be broken when a reward of several million is signed into a legal agreement between the informant, his lawyer and Police, that enables the informant to provide the necessary information knowing the reward will be paid lawfully and under a binding legal contract.

If offered then I am sure Underworld figures would provide information leading to the recovery of the Da Vinci and even a few arrests for good measure.

However, Police would try and demand the original thieves and all the handlers, rather than some "Patsy" handler, who's excuse will be they were only looking after it for a friend, or did not know how it got there, or someone saying they bought the Da Vinci at a Car Trunk/Boot sale.

So, all the time it is only ex-Police officers who can claim rewards, informants will be reluctant to offer their services.

Ex-Police officers will still try and offer false promises of reward to gullible informants hoping for a break whilst still billing the victims for junkets.

Every so often someone will fall for the ruse and a stolen artwork will surface, the informant will be told to "Move along, nothing more to see here"

The really high profile stolen artworks will remain out of reach, unless political forces allow a special, private, government authorised recovery, like that of the Turners, belonging to the Tate Gallery.
This was clear "buy back" sanctioned by the powers that be.
All investigations into how the Tate recovered their stolen paintings have been suppressed by the establishment and media whores.

Make no mistake, any reward money that is paid will go to someone who has knowledge of the crime and subsequent handling, be that an ex-police officer investigating, an informant using inside information, and of course those handling and their friends.

It is at what level payments can be made and be acceptable is the question.

At the moment it stops at ex-police officers.

I do fear however, that any successful attempt to sting the people holding the Da Vinci may prove fatal and only act as a further incentive to commit further, more violent art crimes against an ever vulnerable wealthy art collecting community.
A dilemma for authorities that helps explain the lukewarm plea for help in recovering the Da Vinci, 4 years on.
The Da Vinci has become a Pawn and the paradox is, by not recovering the Da Vinci in a sting operation, authorities are preventing a backlash.
To be continued................................

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Stolen Art Watch, Drones With A Sting in An Irish Oligarchy !!

Artwork stolen Culloden Hotel

A painting by one of Northern Ireland's best-known artists has been stolen from a hotel.

Holywood Harbour, an oil painting by Brian Ballard, left, was discovered missing from the luxury Culloden Hotel in Co Down, on Thursday morning.It is estimated to be worth around £15,000

Police have appealed for anyone offered the painting for sale to contact them.

The theft is believed to have taken place within the past two weeks.

Art Hostage comments

Would it be a dam cheek, if whilst checking out a Hotel to hand back the Stolen Gardner Art, the u,mm's helped themselves to this artwork?

Unlike the Palestinians, who never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity, these fast moving, quick thinking Drones with a sting, how Plato would describe them, saw a chance to gain another artwork with little risk for their days wages.

The Stolen Vermeer must be given back in a fashion that does not involve an exchange.

Because of legal restraints anyone giving back the Vermeer expecting something in return will be arrested and will not receive any reward.

However, if a deal is reached before the recovery, the Vermeer can be recovered, via a confession box, separately and as a result of an anonymous tip off for location, via Art Hostage if I am to be the "Chosen one."

The Stolen Ballard painting is worth the £15,000 retail but only £5,000 legal trade value, £1,000 as a stolen painting and if offered back for ransom, £2,500.

The stolen Ballard painting exchanged for drugs is about an ounce of high grade Cocaine from a major drug dealer, whose bulk cost is about £800 per ounce, the drugs can sold for £2,500 street price and then the stolen Ballard can be retrieved from the drug dealer.

However, as in many art theft cases, the thieves tend to take some of the drugs and never retrieve the stolen painting.

This means the drug dealer looks to sell the stolen painting on to a Criminal venture capitalist.

The Criminal venture capitalist pays about £1,500 for the stolen Ballard and will look to sell it to some successful builder or new money art collector, who still retains the street culture although they are successful in their honest business life as a tradesman etc.

The Ballard would then become a bragging point for the new money art collector not expecting any of his friends to inform on him.

The stolen Ballard would then stay in the new money art collection until death or divorce and then perhaps would surface.

The price to this new money art collector would be £3,000 showing a 100% return for the criminal venture capitalist so there are huge profits for handling stolen art.

With the Police in re-active mode and the judiciary treating art theft as a soft crime, the stealing of high value art will remain a low risk, high profit criminal enterprise that is not only traumatic for the victims, but also really makes people pissed when public artworks are stolen and removed from public view.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Stolen Art Watch, Gardner Art For Lighter Sentence ??

Armagh men held in joint op

Two men from Armagh were being questioned about a £350,000 drugs seizure in Co Donegal.

They were detained in Falcarragh in an operation involving police on both sides of the border.

Garda confirmed that 50kg (110lb) of herbal cannabis with an estimated street value of 500,000 euros (nearly £350,000) was recovered in the village`s main street on Monday afternoon.

The two men, aged 47 and 25, were taken into custody for questioning at Letterkenny.

A house in the Ballyness area of Falcarragh, as well as a house in Armagh, were also searched as part of a follow-up operation which also involved Customs officers.

It is believed the drugs came in from Amsterdam through Dublin Airport.

They are thought to have been transported in a container of computer parts.

Art Hostage comments:

It is interesting to note that those who claim to have access to the stolen Vermeer etc from the Gardner Museum in Boston, Mr Sheridan and Mr McGinley, who Charlie Hill has been courting, are connected to this drug bust.

Interesting Charlie Hill has been in Spain negotiating with ex-pat Irish godfathers about the Gardner Art and then this drug route is exposed.

Pursuing stolen art is one thing, drug busting is certainly more dangerous and something that should be avoided if at all possible.

Interesting to note the solicitors acting are:

Sheridan & Co

Main Street, Lr Letterkenny



Mcginley & Co

74 Upper Main Street, Letterkenny



Interesting to note that the arrested men are from Armagh, stronghold of the South Armagh IRA Brigade, historically lead by by General Thomas Slab Murphy.

With all of this double-dealing going on I hope the Gardner Art will not be damaged during the sting operation.

Why can't authorities offer a lighter sentence for the recovery of the Gardner Art?

At least then the Gardner Art can surface via a confession box, undamaged and not used as a bargaining chip to trap criminals.

It is about time the Gardner art is plucked from the clutches of the underworld before sting operations drive it deeper and out of sight for another decade or so.

Actions speak louder than words, make the deal before it is too late.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Harry Potter Author To Profit From Crime, Art Crime ???

Report: J.K. Rowling Writing Crime Novel


The Associated Press
Sunday, August 19, 2007; 1:01 AM

LONDON -- J.K. Rowling has been spotted at cafes in Scotland working on a detective novel, a British newspaper reported Saturday.

The Sunday Times newspaper quoted Ian Rankin, a fellow author and neighbor of Rowling's, as saying the creator of the "Harry Potter" books is turning to crime fiction.

"My wife spotted her writing her Edinburgh criminal detective novel," the newspaper, which was available late Saturday, quoted Rankin as telling a reporter at an Edinburgh literary festival.

"It is great that she has not abandoned writing or Edinburgh cafes," said Rankin, who is known for his own police novels set in the historic Scottish city.

Rowling famously wrote initial drafts of the Potter story in the Scottish city's cafes. Back then, she was a struggling single mother who wrote in cafes to save on the heating bill at home.

Now she's Britain's richest woman _ worth $1 billion, according to Forbes magazine _ and her seven Potter books have sold more than 335 million copies worldwide.

In an interview with The Associated Press last month, Rowling said she believed she was unlikely to repeat the success of the Potter series, but confirmed she had plans to work on new books.

"I'll do exactly what I did with Harry _ I'll write what I really want to write," Rowling said.

The office of Rowling's literary agent, Christopher Little, was not immediately available to comment late Saturday.

Art Hostage comments:

I wonder if J.K. Rowling will draw from her own experience at being a target of Country House Art Thieves ??
see below for back-story

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Picasso's Recovered in Daring Swoop !!


Three Picasso paintings stolen in Paris secured

French agents on Tuesday secured three paintings by Pablo Picasso, which had been stolen in Paris in February, the daily Le Figaro reported.

The perpetrators had been detained, the report said.

The pictures, worth more than 50 million euros (69 million dollars), were stolen from the apartment of Picasso granddaughter Diana Widmaier-Picasso.

The pictures had vanished without a trace and caused the Paris police problems because there were no traces of a break-in. Police suspected that the perpetrator had had intimate knowledge of the apartment.

The recovered paintings were portraits of Picasso's daughter Maya and his second wife Jacqueline.

Art Hostage Comments:

Inside job, credit to law enforcement for smoking these paintings out.

The revolving door of art theft and recovery turns slowly in the recovery direction, a little glimmer of hope perhaps?

Sadly, when professional criminals steal art it is much harder to recover than if a close family person is involved.


Stolen Picassos recovered

THREE people in possession of three works by Pablo Picasso stolen from the Paris flat of the artist's granddaughter have been caught by French police.

The paintings were stolen as she lay sleeping in February.

Police surveillance teams arrested the three suspects this morning in the 16th arrondissement of Paris. They have been detained awaiting charges as inquiries continue.

The two paintings and a drawing by the Spanish master, worth more than €50 million ($80.5 million), were taken from the flat of Diana Widmaier-Picasso overnight on February 26.

"The works are apparently in good condition," said Ms Widmaier-Picasso's lawyer Olivier Baratelli.

The thieves had made off with the 1961 Portrait of Jacqueline, depicting Picasso's second wife and Maya with Doll, a painting of the artist's daughter from 1938.

The stolen drawing was called Marie-Therese at age 21.

The paintings were on display in the apartment, in the chic Left Bank area of Paris, but security precautions had been taken to protect the works, according to family lawyers.

Maya with Doll is one of Picasso's classic oil paintings in bright shades of green, blue and red and depicting young Maya in pigtails holding a doll and a small wooden horse.

Maya was Ms Widmaier-Picasso's mother, born to Marie-Therese Walter, who was one of Picasso's many female companions.

Art dealers had agreed that the paintings were not sellable, given their masterpiece status, and were bound to reappear eventually.

Picasso's 1905 masterpiece Boy with a Pipe remains the most expensive painting ever sold since it was auctioned in New York for $US104.2 million ($121.51 million) in May 2004.

Picasso died on April 8, 1973 at his home in the southern French town of Mougins. He was 91.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Stolen Art Watch, Outrageous Offer To Return Gardner Art

Art Hostage has learnt that an outrageous offer has been made to non other than the much maligned Charlie Hill.

Whilst Charlie Hill was in Spain recently a contact close to the Irish ex-pat Underworld Godfathers, who hail from near Alicante, made an outrageous offer.

If Charlie Hill could arrange to have Declan Duffy killed or arrested and thrown back in jail, preferably for 30 years, the Irish Underworld Godfathers would facilitate the return of the stolen Gardner Art, including Vermeer's "The Concert"

It seems that Declan Duffy has become a stone in the shoe for the Irish Godfathers, who have failed in recruiting a hit man to whack Mr Duffy.

Charlie Hill is trying to get Mr Sheridan and Mr McGinley to recruit Declan Duffy/Dessie O'Hare and when Declan Duffy/Dessie O'Hare have possession of the stolen Gardner Art they will be arrested and the Gardner Art will be recovered.

Trouble with this plan is a gun battle could ensue and damage could be done to the Gardner art. Also whatever art is outstanding will be destroyed.

Seems the Irish Underworld has no qualms about using Law Enforcement to eliminate its rivals, even breaking the supposed code of silence to set up Declan Duffy and Dessie O'Hare.

Furthermore, the gang who lost the load of Cocaine at Mizen Head have replaced a third of it, 500 kilos since their loss.

It is interesting that the Art Hostage plan of offering things other than the supposed reward money may smoke out the stolen Gardner Art.

However, killing an underworld rival of those who control the Gardner Art is certainly out of the question, unless of course Dick Ellis calls on his contact Brigadier Gordon Kerr !!

Gang members released after questioning by gardai

By Alan O'Keeffe

Monday August 06 2007

NINE members of a gang suspected of involvement in the beating and torturing of a young man held captive in a Dublin house have been released without charge.

A file is now being prepared for the DPP after the victim of the horrific attack was found tied up, gagged and naked in the bathroom of a house in Tallaght raided by armed gardai.

Eight men, including INLA boss Declan Duffy, and one woman were arrested in the swoop on the home.

The victim, found bleeding and in great distress, was taken to Tallaght hospital where he was treated for his injuries.

Gardai believe the 21-year-old victim, a member of a business family, was in danger of suffering further serious harm in the house had the detectives not swooped to rescue him.

The bathroom where the victim was imprisoned was covered in his blood.

Members of the garda Emergency Response Unit went to the house on Friday evening after receiving intelligence that a man had been kidnapped and was being held against his will.

All nine people were arrested within the vicinity of the house.
The nine were aged between 19 and 43.

INLA boss Declan Duffy is believed to have taken control of the criminal organisation in Dublin since his release from prison last February.

Duffy was imprisoned for nine years on charges of false imprisonment and firearms possession following the notorious 'Ballymount Bloodbath' in 1999 which resulted in the death of INLA man Paddy 'Bo' Campbell.

Members of the INLA in Dublin, reportedly involved in the illegal drugs trade, are believed to be involved in a number of attempts to extort cash.

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

Clifford Hobbs, has been arrested in Spain, inside job, a trade off, expect some really nasty underworld gang wars to start.

James Hurley is going to be arrested next as Scotland Yard/S.O.C.A. and Interpol have located him and are just getting the International arrest warrant renewed.

There is a reward of £30,000 for the capture of James Hurley.

A claim for the £50,000 reward for the capture of Clifford Hobbs has already been submitted to London Scotland Yard, however, the informant has already been told it is £25,000 for Clifford Hobbs and £25,000 for the capture of Noel Cunningham.

At a Top Secret meeting earlier this year, at which senior members of Organised Crime met with Top Law Enforcement officials, including Interpol, S.O.C.A. and the FBI, certain disruptive dangerous criminals were discussed.

These criminals had become a embarrassment and "Stone in the Shoe" for Authorities as well as Top members of the Global Organised Crime syndicate, which includes members of the C.I.A.

It was decide that certain criminals would be given up and others would be framed and put behind bars for a long time. They were seen as upsetting the balance of global criminal activity and their presence could affect not only criminal dealings, but also the war on terror, via the Heroin trade.

Art Hostage lobbied for the return of the Gardner Art as a Pork Barrel, a side dish, but it seems to be a low priority.

However, as this conspiracy develops the Gardner Art may surface just when you least expect, or that is what I am told.

Hope springs eternal, I'd settle for the Vermeer as an appetiser, please, pretty please !!

Record crop of Afghan Opium this year 3,000 tons, Taliban's biggest mistake was to try and stop the Opium trade, more than their relationship with Bin Laden, Air America back in business, I only want the Gardner Art, surely this is not too much to ask???

One to watch...................................

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Stolen Art Watch, FBI Corners Market in Unique Stolen Art Recovery !

Press Release

For Immediate ReleaseJuly 30, 2007

Washington D.C.FBI National Press Office(202) 324-3691

FBI Announces Addition to Top Ten Art Crimes List

The FBI today announced an addition to its Top Ten Art Crimes list. A Cavalier was stolen on June 10, 2007, from the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia. The self-portrait, by Dutch Master Frans Van Mieris (1635-1681), was stolen while the gallery was open for public viewing. The piece is in oil on wood panel and measures 16 x 20 centimeters, or approximately 6 ½ x 8 inches.

"The FBI is pleased to be able to work with our Australian law enforcement colleagues in an effort to bring this piece of history back to the Art Gallery of New South Wales," said Bonnie Magness-Gardiner of the FBI's Art Theft Program. "Theft of a significant work of art such as this is not only a crime against an institution but deprives both the local and international community of its cultural heritage."

The FBI initiated the Top Ten Art Crimes list in 2005. Since then, five paintings and one sculpture from four entries have been recovered: A Rembrandt self-portrait and Renoir's Young Parisian from Sweden's National Museum theft; Goya's Children with a Cart from the Toledo Art Museum theft; Munch's The Scream and The Madonna from the Munch Museum theft in Oslo; and the Cellini Salt Cellar from the Kunsthistorisches Museum theft in Vienna.

Also recovered was the Statue of Entemena from the Iraqi Looted and Stolen Artifacts entry. The current list may be found on the Art Theft Program page of the FBI's website listed below.
Persons with any information about this work of art or circumstances concerning this crime are encouraged to contact their local FBI office or the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate, or to submit a tip online at

Art Hostage comments:

Expect some good news soon, courtesy of FBI Icon Robert Wittman, who is on course to recover this artwork before his retirement October 2007.

The press release is just part of the choreography leading up to the recovery and fanfare that will ensue.

It's a done deal, they are closing in, take the deal while it is on the table, something is better than nothing.
Remember this, below ?
Uncanny likeness, the Cavalier and one of the bad guys ???????