Vermeer's The Concert

Vermeer's The Concert

Friday, September 26, 2008

Stolen Art Watch, Three Stooges Caught with Stolen Renoir !!

Italian police recover stolen Renoir, arrest 3

ANSA) - Rome, September 26 -
Italian art police have recovered a painting by Impressionist master Pierre-Auguste Renoir stolen from a private collection in Milan in 1975.
The owner of an art gallery in Riccione and two suspected accomplices were arrested after they contacted prominent art critic Vittorio Sgarbi for an appraisal.
Sgarbi suspected the painting might have been stolen and called the police.
The small oil painting of a naked woman with her back to the viewer has a reported commercial value of some 500,000 euros ($730,000).
It is a late Renoir which is not listed in the artist's official catalogue.

Police said the painting was stolen from a Milanese family after the owner, who has since died, took it to a laboratory to be restored.

The owner's daughter recognised it from the mark of a ball she accidentally hit it with in the early 1970s.

Police said it would probably be returned to the family.

Sgarbi was also asked for his opinion on a second Impressionist painting, which turned out to be a forgery of a work by Eduard Manet.The fake Manet will be confiscated, police said.
photo: art critic Vittorio Sgarbi

Art Hostage comments:

Something does not add up here.

First, under Italian law if this painting had been bought through an auction house the person buying it would get legal title, so perhaps that would be the ruse and it may take a court case to decide if the Renoir should go back to the original owner.
My guess is the Old bird, the 68 year old woman art gallery owner was trying to cash it in.
However, the art critic could be in on the act and now will try and claim a reward for his efforts ??
Sgarbi suspected the Renoir had been stolen and called the police, some memory this Sgarbi has.
Funny thing is, you wait thirty years to find an honest person in the art trade, and then several come along at once, yeah right !!!
This case is far from cut and dried and we may find out later this was a case of double cross.

Next we may hear this Sgarbi has got one in the back of the head if no money is forthcoming.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Stolen Art Watch,Textbook FBI Sting, A Fitting Curtain Call to Robert Wittman's FBI Career !!

French art thief gets 62 months in prison

A French art thief who lived quietly in a Cooper City neighborhood and admitted stealing and trying to sell valuable Claude Monet and other paintings will serve more than five years in U.S. prison.

A federal judge in Miami imposed a 62-month sentence Wednesday on 56-year-old Bernard Jean Ternus. He pleaded guilty in July to conspiracy to steal paintings by Monet, fellow Impressionist George Sisley and 17th-century master Jan Brueghel the Elder.

Ternus has multiple convictions for felonies in France, but he lied about them on his visa application when he flew into Miami on July 5, 2007.

One month later, on Aug. 5, five armed, masked thieves stormed the MuseƩ des Beaux-Arts in Nice, France. In minutes, the thieves made off with four paintings valued at more than $6 million in front of shocked museum staff.

The stolen paintings were Cliffs Near Dieppe by Monet, The Lane of Poplars at Moret by Sisley and Allegory of Water and Allegory of Earth, both by Brueghel.

With the paintings in hand, the thieves needed a buyer. That's where Ternus came in. According to court documents, Ternus' role was to set the thieves up with wealthy buyers. He was not involved in the actual heist, prosecutors said.

Ternus approached two undercover FBI agents on Oct. 8, 2007, and told them that he could sell them the paintings. They met with him again repeatedly over the next few weeks, in hotel suites and on yachts in Europe and South Florida.

Court documents reveal that the thieves were getting anxious to be paid. '[Ternus'] associates are calling him all the time, asking if he has a buyer yet for the Nice paintings.'' They agreed on a $100,000 fee to pay for Ternus' team's expenses, like flights and house rentals.

Ternus also told the agents that he could sell kilos of cocaine in France, Italy and Spain. The plea deal doesn't say whether the agents negotiated any drug deals with Ternus, who was not charged with any drug-related offenses.

In January 2008, the agents and Ternus flew to Barcelona to meet with the thieves and agreed on a price: $3 million euros, roughly $4.7 million.

The money would be turned over to Ternus in Miami, and the paintings given to the agent's ''representatives'' in France.

But there was a problem. The skittish art thieves only agreed to sell the two Brueghels at first, holding onto the Monet and the Sisley as leverage in case anyone was arrested after the sale.

They told the undercover agents that they would hold the canvases hostage and threaten to rip them up if the police arrested anyone.

It took several more months of trans-Atlantic negotiation and meetings to get the thieves to agree to sell all four paintings in a single deal. The agents agreed to exchange both the money and the artwork in France.

On April 18, 2008, two FBI agents, two of the thieves and Ternus all met on a boat docked in Broward County to hammer out the final details of the sale. When the meeting ended, the criminals and the undercover agents hoisted glasses and they ``all toasted for good luck, `` according to court documents.

But Ternus' 10 months of planning collapsed on June 4, 2008, the date of the sale. Instead of collecting almost $5 million, Ternus was arrested at his Cooper City home.

Art Hostage comments:

As Bob Wittman was the architect of this recovery he should get the credit.
A fitting case to ride off into the Sunset with, straight to the private sector gravy train, much deserved in Bob's case.

Still find it hard to believe people, who show cunning and intelligence when stealing high value art, are so stupid and really think the so-called buyer of stolen high value art is not an Undercover cop.

Anyone with access to high value stolen art who is then approached by someone promising cash for the stolen art has only themselves to blame when the fairy godmother turns out to be an Undercover cop.

This was not an attempt to hand back the stolen art for reward, it was a pure and simple criminal transaction that turned out to be an FBI Sting.

Art theft, forget about it !!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Stolen Art Watch, Let's Go Dutch !!!!! Update !!

Dutch police recover stolen 17th-century paintings
3 hours ago

AMSTERDAM, Netherlands (AP) — Dutch detectives have recovered five 17th-century paintings, including a Jan Steen, more than six years after they were snatched from the Frans Hals Museum, the museum and police said Tuesday.

The Golden Age works, worth millions of dollars, were found after an 18-month investigation by Dutch police who used undercover agents to crack the case and worked closely with Britain's Serious and Organized Crime Agency.

The paintings include Steen's "Charlatan on the Market," as well as works by Cornelis Bega, Adriaan van Ostade and Cornelis Dusart, police said in a statement.

Museum spokesman Louis Pirenne said three of the works had been damaged, but all would be exhibited from Wednesday at the museum in Haarlem, just west of Amsterdam.

The works were done by artists from a movement that aimed to depict daily Dutch life in the 1600s, often with a moral message.

Steen's "Charlatan on the Market" portrays a quack doctor selling medicines of dubious value to naive market-goers.

Of two paintings by Van Ostade, one titled "The Contented Drinker" is considered the greatest masterpiece of the five. The other Van Ostade is also titled "Charlatan on the Market."

At the time of the theft the paintings were insured for a total of US$4.3 million, though Pirenne said their historical importance made their value "impossible to express in euros."

After they were stolen, museum staff said the paintings would be impossible to sell on the open market because they were too well-known and documented.

Two Den Bosch men, aged 23 and 69, were arrested Saturday at a hotel in Eindhoven and another, aged 54, was arrested close to his home in Den Bosch, police said. Their identities were not released, in line with Dutch privacy laws.

All three are being held on suspicion of receiving the stolen paintings.

Police said they seized cars, including a Ferrari and a Range Rover, at one of the houses along with handguns, body armor, designer watches, drugs and an undisclosed amount of cash.
Art Hostage comments:
Serious Organised Crime Agency, S.O.C.A. where have we heard them mentioned in the background before ??
Interesting story of how authorities made their way through the Underworld to get these paintings back.
O'h, and guess who was the dishonest, double crossing, agent provocateur ??
More to follow.................................
Apparently, the ransom money went walkabout last Friday and the authorities did not have the prize picture, the Jan Steen.
This was recovered Saturday along with other luxury items such as Ferrari, cash etc., the ransom money may be written off, nudge, nudge, wink, wink !!!
Were those arrested the original thieves, No
Were those arrested involved in the handling of these stolen paintings, No
Those arrested were a middleman, who funny enough was celebrating his sixty-ninth birthday on Saturday, his lawyer and another possibly his son.
They were trying to hand back the stolen art and got caught up in the web of deceit and fell pray to yet another entrapment.
To find out how to facilitate the return of stolen art without getting arrested and having a chance at getting a reward contact Art Hostage, for everything else, use Cash, MasterCard and plastic money is fast becoming extinct .

Stolen Art Watch, Stolen Dutch Masterpieces Recovered, Arrests, The Lawyers of Course !!

Lawyer Arthur van der Biezen Arrested for Art Thief

The Dutch authorities have solved a major art robbery at the Frans Hals Museum in the town of Haarlem. Five masterpieces, including Jan Steen’s The Quack, were stolen from the museum six years ago.

Police seized the paintings in a raid on a house in the southern city of Den Bosch at the weekend. Three suspects were arrested and several cars and motorcycles were impounded.

Leading lawyer Arthur van der Biezen was reportedly involved in the robbery. His lawyer confirms that Mr Van der Biezen is suspected of fencing the stolen paintings, but insists that his client is innocent. Mr Van der Biezen is the lawyer of one of the co-defendants in the trial of alleged crime boss Willem Holleeder.

Art Hostage comments:

Comments to follow.................

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Stolen Art Watch, L.A. Art Heist, Maid's Connection to Gangs Holds the Key !!

Reward offered for return of stolen art in LA
LOS ANGELES (Map, News) - A $200,000 reward was offered Tuesday for the return of as many as 12 paintings by Marc Chagall, Diego Rivera and other masters that were stolen from a San Fernando Valley home.

The stolen paintings were worth millions of dollars, said Los Angeles police Detective Donald Hrycyk. who did not have an exact value. It could be difficult for thieves to sell the works without proof of their authenticity.

The owners were offering the reward for information leading to the recovery of the artwork and the capture of the crooks.

The paintings disappeared Aug. 23 from the home of an elderly couple. One of the residents, who is bedridden, was home at the time. The other was asleep, so neither was aware of an intruder, police said.

The thief entered the house through a service door and took the paintings from the walls of two adjacent rooms.

"Normally there would be people with the victims at the home," Hrycyk said. "If it is a dangerous stranger that just happens off the street, they were very lucky to pick the time that they did."

Nine pictures by Chagall, Rivera, Hans Hofmann, Chaim Soutine, Arshile Gorky, Emil Nolde, Lyonel Feininger, and Kess van Dongen were stolen, and three others appeared to be missing as well.

The stolen paintings were among a collection amassed over the past 60 years or so.

Video report linked below:

Art Hostage comments:

On face value this seems to be a Gang related heist with the inside intelligence given by the maid.

Alternatively the thieves will use some of the paintings as collateral against drugs, possibly Gang drug dealers, and here is where the first break could come.

MS 13 are a notorious gang, but many other gangs operate in California.

I believe the paintings are still close by and the window of opportunity to recover the paintings will be open for the next month.

Then you have the six month window, then it will become years.

No doubt the FBI Art Crime Team in L.A. will be at heart of the investigations, however, it might pay to consult the L.A.P.D. Gang squad to see if they can come up with a break.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Stolen Art Watch, Whitey Bulger Reward Doubled to $2 million, Breaking News below !!

The FBI are to announce the doubling of the reward for the capture of Whitey Bulger to $2 million.

Today being Whitey Bulger's 79th birthday seems ironic, but this is all starting to take shape.

The word is someone is prepared to drop a dime and give up Whitey Bulger but they wanted more than the original $1 million offered.

They told the FBI as much and wanted the FBI to go public with the new reward offer.

The FBI have reluctantly agreed to make public the new improved $2 million reward offer for Whitey Bulger hoping the informant will now be satisfied and finally give the location where Whitey Bulger can be found.

This was all meant to happen before the end of August without the FBI having to publicly state the reward offer being doubled.

So, expect Whitey Bulger to be arrested shortly, and the circumstances surrounding the arrest and the subsequent reward claim will be just as amazing.

Where will it be, Donegal, Galway, Bantry Bay, Spain, or did Whitey Bulger escape to South Africa recently ??? ssh, or could Whitey Bulger be in the UK down the road on the South Coast, even across the English Channel in France, behind the beard ??


Whitey Bulger has been sporting a full facial beard just like that of Radovan Karadic, the Serbian war criminal.

Funny thing, when Radovan Kardzic was first arrested authorities were not sure if Whitey Bulger would appear from under the full facial white beard, still when captured Whitey Bulger may indeed still have the full facial white beard, no wonder he has been able to slip the net recently !!

Breaking news
Memo to Joe Pistone !!
Joe, please remember Ireland and to a lesser extent Spain are not New York and one of the guys you spoke to has been mouthing off whilst drunk about how he is going Hollywood when you arrest Whitey Bulger and recover the stolen Gardner Art.
Joe, you put on a good show but be careful as you may only get a copy of the Vermeer and a Whitey Bulger look-alike.
Now the demonisation in the eyes of the criminal underworld has taken place by the FBI revealing Whitey Bulger is also wanted on child molestation charges, the person who is already in negotiations can justify informing on Whitey Bulger as getting a child predator off the streets. All going to plan then.
However, some in Holland may tolerate these accusations against Whitey Bulger as they too have an unhealthy interest in children.
to be continued..............................................