Vermeer's The Concert

Vermeer's The Concert

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Stolen Art Watch, $50 Million Cross, Gone in a Flash !!

Armed robbery at Tournai Cathedral, Belgium
Stolen Cross Worth $50 million
On Monday 18 February at approximately 10.15, two armed robbers broke glass display cabinets containing items from the Cathedral Treasury and stole a Byzantine cross, eight 17th-century chalices, two episcopal rings and two episcopal crosses.

The robbers escaped in a dark-coloured Audi driven by an accomplice.


5th-century Byzantine cross, 20 cm x 20 cm, gold set with precious stones, pearls and paste. Value: priceless.

A witness had observed two men acting suspiciously on 14 February 2008, four days before the robbery. They had examined the Byzantine cross very closely and persistently questioned the employee at the Cathedral Treasury cash desk.

Description of one of the men:

Aged 40 to 45, 185 - 190 cm, heavy build, black hair, dark eyes, light skin, European, spoke French well (see composite picture).

Anyone with any information concerning the robbery , the whereabouts of the cross or the identity of the person in the composite picture is asked to contact the INTERPOL National Central Bureau in Brussels (Reference: ZZ/OBJ32/ 016290/08/1P) and the INTERPOL General Secretariat (Reference: 2008/6996).

Art Hostage comments:

Risk, several years jailtime if caught.

Reward, exchanged for drugs or to settle a debt, this is an easy piece to use as collateral.

However, I bet Michel Van Rijn could make a fake and pass it off within the underworld as the original, not that he would !!

All the time risk is low and penalties are even lower, the targeting of major iconic artworks will go on unabated.

Time for a re-think on penalties for theft from public museums and collections.

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