Vermeer's The Concert

Vermeer's The Concert

Friday, December 25, 2009

Stolen Art Watch, Gardner Art Heist, Warning From Ireland to Boston, "Ra" Are Watching !!!

Whitey Bulger Associate Victim Of Hit-Run

Paul Moore Found Dead In Quincy Snowbank

The man found dead in a Quincy snowbank on Thursday morning is a former mob lieutenant and associate of James “Whitey” Bulger, the Boston Herald reported.

Paul “Polecat” Moore, 63, of Milton, was a one-time member of Bulger's South Boston gang. His body was discovered on Robertson Road at 7 a.m. by a passer-by.

It appeared he had been hit by a vehicle, police said.

"Quincy police does have evidence on hand from the scene, and they are progressing with that investigation. We have had motor vehicle homicide prosecutors on the scene and assisting Quincy police," Norfolk County District Attorney William Keating said.

Moore turned a government witness against Bulger after Moore's arrest in 1990 on drug charges. He asked Bulger to take care of his wife and children. Bulger did not, so Moore testified against him, the newspaper reported.

“Paul Moore was one of the toughest guys that ever came out of South Boston,” former state Sen. Joseph Timilty told the newspaper.

Timilty, who was convicted of conspiracy to commit fraud in 1993, became friends with Moore in prison.

Timilty said Moore had been working as a longshoreman on the docks in South Boston.

Bulger, who is on the FBI's 10 Most Wanted List, has been a fugitive for more than a decade.

Correction: Wrong man ID’d as hit-and-run victim

An article that appeared online and on page 8 of the print edition yesterday about a hit-and-run death in Quincy misidentified the man who was killed. He is Paul F. Moore, 63, of Milton.

Mr. Moore’s family has asked for privacy at this difficult time.

The Herald deeply regrets the error and pain caused to the Moore family.

In the same article, the Herald incorrectly reported that Paul E. “Polecat” Moore, 60, a former associate of James J. “Whitey” Bulger, was the man killed in the hit-and-run.

According to Paul E. “Polecat” Moore’s brother, who asked that his name be withheld, Paul “Polecat” Moore is living in Dorchester.

Art Hostage Comments:

Paul "Bobcat" Moore who is alive and living in Dorchester was about to break rank and give the vital information that would have led to the stolen Gardner art still in the Boston area being recovered.

The Irish Republicans who control the stolen Gardner art responded in time honoured fashion and sent a warning to anyone trying to offer back the Gardner art without the authority of Irish Republicans.

This is taking on a chilling similarity to the events in the new David Hosp book Among Thieves, due out in January 2010.

They boys from the "Ra" are back in Boston and they want to secure the stolen Gardner art, who ????

Representatives of the Irish Republican movement have sent operatives to Boston to secure the stolen Gardner art.
Behind the public face is the man who controls the stolen Gardner art.

I am confident that some stolen Gardner art will be recovered before March 2010, I just hope it can be done without any collateral damage.

Whitey Bulger, expect breaking news very soon.

More to Follow.....................................
Bobcat lives, "Ra" warning acknowledged.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Stolen Art Watch, Gardner Art Heist Solved, "Among Thieves" by David Hosp !!!!

Among Thieves by David Hosp
It is with great pleasure Art Hostage can report the new novel by David Hosp, "Among Thieves" is going to be one of the most riveting reads for 2010.

The Gardner Heist has provoked all kinds of artistic mediums and this latest offering "Among Thieves" By David Hosp comes dangerously close to the current intelligence reports coming out of both Ireland and Boston, not forgetting the German connection.

The entire plot is not only plausable but elements will be included in the final analysis of the Gardner Art Heist.

A truly stunning read

"Among Thieves" by David Hosp video:

Friday, December 18, 2009

Stolen Art Watch, Gardner Art Recovery, The Wait Continues !!!

Republican terrorists are thought to have created a new IRA organisation, drawing membership from the Continuity IRA (CIRA) and two factions of the Real IRA.

The security services believe the group, which is not aligned to any political party, is led by hardline dissidents and Provisional IRA members who oppose Sinn Fein’s decision to join the Policing Board in Northern Ireland. Among those suspected of involvement in the new alliance is a former member of the IRA army council.

The group has yet to declare its existence, but may announce its intentions in the new year. “In terms of its capability to mount attacks, it represents the most potent threat in terms of launching a new campaign,” said one republican hardliner.

The group has chosen not to give itself a name, with the idea of making it more difficult for supporters to be charged with IRA membership and in a bid to confuse the security services.

To avoid infiltration by the security services, the new group is understood to be “hand-picking” terrorists who have already carried out attacks or proven their credentials as members of paramilitary groups.

“It is choosing people from CIRA, RIRA and the other groups and leaving those they consider to be compromised on the outside,” said the republican source. “They don’t want republicans who are involved in smuggling and other activities that could compromise them. They might use them to generate finance or even mount an operation, but they won’t be allowed to join.

“This group is highly secretive and paranoid about informants and their identities being revealed. They are serious operators who know what’s involved in running a [terrorist] campaign. They’ve done it before.”

The new group’s ranks have been bolstered by defections from the various splinter groups of the RIRA, the terrorist group which murdered 29 people when it bombed Omagh in August 1998. It has also drawn support from members of the CIRA who have defected in Tyrone, Fermanagh and Armagh.

Some hardliners believe the CIRA army council, which is dominated by members of Republican Sinn Fein, no longer considers the use of violence justified but is refusing to state this.

There has been a upsurge in republican terrorism this year. In March, the Real IRA shot two soldiers outside Massereene Barracks in Antrim. Stephen Carroll, a member of the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI), was shot by the CIRA in Craigavon, Co Armagh, 48 hours later. Last month a 400lb car bomb — almost as big as the one in Omagh — was used to attack the Policing Board headquarters in Belfast.

Alleged republican terrorists tried under the Offences against the State act in the republic are usually classified as members of Oglaigh na hEireann — the Irish term for the IRA. When suspects are charged, this all-encompassing term is usually followed by a reference to a faction.

Kevin McQuillan, a spokesman for the Republican Network for Unity, a forum for dissidents, said there had been a “re-alignment” within dissident republican groups.

“I think the turning point amongst the armed groups, ironically enough, happened in March when Martin McGuinness called the republicans who attacked Massereene ‘traitors’. The use of that terminology by an iconic republican figure shocked us,” said McQuillan.

He believes attacks by IRA factions have become more strategic and frequent. “I think there is a meeting of minds among dissident republicans. There has been an increase in attacks and those operations are more organised and strategic,” he said. “There is no appetite whatsoever on the ground for military engagement with the British security forces, but these groups are growing.”

The threat posed by republican dissidents has never been greater, according to both gardai and MI5.

However, some security sources say there is an “intelligence deficit” on dissidents.

“The main players are under surveillance but there is so much activity it’s almost impossible to decipher what is happening. They are meeting and planning the whole time. Dissidents from different factions are meeting each other and hardliners from the IRA, who have drifted away from them and Sinn Fein,” said one source. “The dissidents have the capacity to kill and bomb, but not in a sustainable way.”

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Stolen Art Watch, Gardner Art Heist, "Creative" Carmen Milagros Ortiz Tackles Financial Fraud, Whitey Bulger and Financial Reward !!!

Art Hostage Comments:

“I’m very down to earth, I’m very genuine, I’m very sincere, and I’m very direct,”
(New U.S. Attorney Massachusetts, Carmen Milagros Ortiz 3rd December 2009)

Art Hostage has some down to earth, genuine, sincere and direct things to offer that will see Whitey Bulger in custody (Dead or Alive !!) and the return of the Stolen Gardner art.

A big welcome to Carmen Ortiz and Art Hostage commends the new U.S. Attorney for the forthright manner in which she has set out her stall.

"Financial Fraud, Financial Reward" should be be the new mantra and in that spirit the current reward for the capture of Whitey Bulger should be increased to $10 million along with the current reward offer for the recovery of the Gardner art, $5 million, should also be increased to $10 million in a down to earth, genuine, sincere, and direct manner, to coincide with the 20 years commemoration of the tragic theft next March 18th 2010.

What would this achieve, well, $10 million for the return of the stolen Gardner art and immunity from prosecution in a down to earth, genuine, sincere and direct manner would certainly bring those who control the Gardner art to the table.

Sadly, until now, those who really control the Gardner art have not believed for one minute the current reward offer of $5 million for the return of all Gardner paintings in Good Condition, or the alleged offer of immunity.
Remember two paintings were cut from their frames so the condition they were in straight after the Gardner Heist in 1990 was less than Good Condition.

Art Hostage has tried to convince certain parties and has been met with scepticism, and on certain occasions ridicule.

Below is the latest statement to come out of the Underworld, or from the guys controlling the Gardner art.

"Until the reward offer is specific, no conditions, and demonstrated to exist in an escrow account, along with an immunity agreement from any prosecution in regards returning the stolen Gardner art, no-one is going to put their head up above the parapet"

We must not forget those who control the some of the Gardner art may not be conventional criminals, they could have been students at the time of the Gardner Heist March 1990 and the fear-factor has prevented them stepping forward to return the Gardner art ever since.

If they knew of a previous approach to the Gardner museum was followed by that approach being passed straight to the FBI then that fact may have spooked them ever since and it is only when the conditions are presented publicly of no arrests, no prosecutions, and the reward sitting in an Escrow account, to be paid in full once the Gardner art has been recovered, will they make contact again.

Also, an important point made by the Underworld is how much would be paid if only one or two stolen Gardner artworks were to be returned ???

The answer to this problem is a tariff of exactly how much each stolen Gardner artwork would command in reward money, for example:

Vermeer The Concert 50% of the reward,

Rembrandt Storm on the Sea 20% of the reward

Rembrandt Lady and Gentleman in Black, 10%
Rembrandt Self Portrait 7.5%

Manet Chez Tortini 7.5%
Flink, 5 Degas drawings, Eagle and Ku vase 5%

Doubling the Gardner art reward to $10 million would mean each Gardner artwork is worth as follows:

Vermeer The Concert $5 million reward

Rembrandt Storm on the Sea $2 million reward

Rembrandt Lady and Gentleman in Black $1 million

Rembrandt Self Portrait $750,000

Manet Chez Tortini $750,000

Flink, 5 drawings Eagel and Ku vase $500,000

This is an example of a "creative" approach that will smoke out the elusive Gardner art.

Now moving onto Whitey Bulger.

Carmen Ortiz has said she is looking for "Creative" ways to capture Whitey Bulger.

Well, for Art Hostage to be down to earth, genuine, sincere and direct, raise the reward to $10 million and Whitey Bulger will appear just like that.

That is the word from the Underworld.
The past is just that, the past !!
Art Hostage would like to say these comments are not intended as a slur on anyone or any disrespect to anyone, Art Hostage is just trying to reach out and solve both the Gardner case and the Whitey Bulger surrender.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Stolen Art Watch, Whitey Bulger Located on French Territory, Death Penalty Extradition Dilema Faces Carmen Ortiz !!!

Whitey Bulger Located,
Pieces of Eight, Pieces of Eight !!!!!

Art Hostage can now reveal Whitey Bulger has been located to France or French Territory and because of this fact U.S. Authorities are facing a dilemma.

If they make a move and have Whitey Bulger arrested, then extradition will be impossible, not least because of the death penalty Whitey Bulger faces in Boston.

However, if Whitey Bulger has the death penalty lifted then that in itself could cause political embarrassment to Authorities in Boston.

Carmen Ortiz has been briefed on this dilemma and the "Creative" remark she made today at her first press conference refers to the secret plan to tempt Whitey Bulger off French Territory so any arrest can be quickly resolved, especially if Whitey Bulger is arrested in the UK, then Whitey Bulger would be swiftly taken back to the U.S. secretly.

It has been discussed at very high levels about the possibility of secretly kidnapping Whitey Bulger and flying him straight to the U.S. without informing the local authorities.

Discussions have also taken place about Whitey Bulger surrendering and the reward money being paid, the figure of $10 million has been mentioned and the Bulger family back in Boston are holding out their shovel size hands for their pay off.

More to follow............................................................

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Stolen Art Watch, Carmen Ortiz "Creative" Mission statement, "Financial Fraud, Financial Reward" !!!!

New Mass. US Attorney focuses on financial fraud

The new U.S. Attorney for Massachusetts says she wants to beef up prosecution of financial fraud cases to prevent the kind of disaster caused by disgraced financier Bernard Madoff.

Carmen Ortiz said today she plans to reach out to other government agencies and private businesses to aggressively root out financial fraud.

She said she wants victims of financial crimes to know her office is "open for business."

Ortiz is the first woman and the first Hispanic to hold the top federal prosecutor’s job in Massachusetts.

In her first meeting with reporters since taking office last month, Ortiz said she also plans to look for "creative" ways to aid in the hunt for fugitive gangster James "Whitey" Bulger.

Bulger is on the FBI’s "Ten Most Wanted" list.

Art Hostage Comments:
A big welcome to Carmen Ortiz and Art Hostage commends the new U.S. Attorney for the forthright manner in which she has set out her stall.

"Financial Fraud, Financial Reward" should be be the new mantra and in that spirit the current reward for the capture of Whitey Bulger should be increased to $10 million along with the current reward offer for the recovery of the Gardner art should be increased also to $10 million to coincide with the 20 years commemoration of the tragic theft next March 18th 2010.

What would this achieve, well, $10 million for the Gardner art and immunity from prosecution would certainly bring those who control the Gardner art to the table.

Sadly, until now, those who really control the Gardner art have not believed for one minute the current reward offer of $5 million for the return of all Gardner paintings in Good Condition, or the alleged offer of immunity.
Remember two paintings were cut from their frames so the condition they were in straight after the Gardner Heist in 1990 was less than Good Condition.

Art Hostage has tried to convince certain parties and has been met with scepticism, and on certain occasions ridicule.

Below is the latest statement to come out of the Underworld, or from the guys controlling the Gardner art.

"Until the reward offer is specific, no conditions, and demonstrated to exist in an escrow account, along with an immunity agreement from any prosecution in regards returning the stolen Gardner art, no-one is going to put their head up above the parapet"

We must not forget those who control the some of the Gardner art may not be conventional criminals, they could have been students at the time of the Gardner Heist March 1990 and the fear-factor has prevented them stepping forward to return the Gardner art ever since.

If they knew of a previous approach to the Gardner museum was followed by that approach being passed straight to the FBI then that fact may have spooked them ever since and it is only when the conditions are presented publicly of no arrests, no prosecutions, and the reward sitting in an Escrow account, to be paid in full once the Gardner art has been recovered, will they make contact again.

Also, an important point made by the Underworld is how much would be paid if only one or two stolen Gardner artworks were to be returned ???

The answer to this problem is a tariff of exactly how much each stolen Gardner artwork would command in reward money, for example:

Vermeer The Concert 50% of the reward,

Rembrandt Storm on the Sea 20% of the reward

Rembrandt Lady and Gentleman in Black, 10%
Rembrandt Self Portrait 7.5%

Manet Chez Tortini 7.5%
Flink, 5 Degas drawings, Eagle and Ku vase 5%

Doubling the Gardner art reward to $10 million would mean each Gardner artwork is worth as follows:

Vermeer The Concert $5 million reward

Rembrandt Storm on the Sea $2 million reward

Rembrandt Lady and Gentleman in Black $1 million

Rembrandt Self Portrait $750,000

Manet Chez Tortini $750,000

Flink, 5 drawings Eagel and Ku vase $500,000

This an example of a "creative" approach that will smoke out the elusive Gardner art.

Who would Art Hostage go to in Boston to recover the Gardner art if armed with the new $10 million reward offer and a definite immunity agreement ???

Simple, one man, no other, Mr Patrick Nee because he still has enough respect across ethnic lines in the Underworld to be trusted to pull this thing off, that is if the deal was proved to be airtight and legitimate.

Who would be the man to negotiate with Patrick Nee, again, one man, no other, Anthony Amore.

Even if the former students wanted to deal back some of the the Gardner art Patrick Nee is man to broker the deal via Anthony Amore.

Now moving onto Whitey Bulger.

Carmen Ortiz has said she is looking for "Creative" ways to capture Whitey Bulger.

Well, raise the reward to $10 million and Whitey Bulger will appear just like that.

That is the word from the Underworld.
The past is just that, the past !!
Art Hostage would like to say these comments are not intended as a slur on anyone or any disrespect to anyone, Art Hostage is just trying to reach out and solve both the Gardner case and the Whitey Bulger surrender.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Stolen Art Watch, Gardner Art Heist, Children Chasing Vermeer !!!

Students at Watertown’s St. Stephen’s Armenian Elementary School learn about Gardner art heist

WATERTOWN — .There’s been a great deal of excitement in fifth-grade teacher Julia Kramer’s classroom at St. Stephen’s Armenian Elementary School in Watertown. It started with fifth-grade parent Rosalyn Minassian volunteering to do the weekly current events discussion with the class. Following her art passion, she decided to teach about the unsolved heist at the Gardner Museum in 1990.

To cater to different intelligences and interests, the students used their computer class to listen to the news report while seeing the various artwork stolen from the museum. They wrote down their observations and questions in their detective book. After a lively discussion about the stolen artwork with Minassian, the students then had an opportunity to speak to two investigators of the case, retired Boston Globe journalist Stephen Kurkjian and FBI Special Agent Geoffrey Kelly.

The students’ excitement and quest for knowledge was evident through the hands waiving eagerly in the air. The Gardner Museum’s director of security, Anthony Amore, has even invited the fifth-grade class for a VIP tour of the museum.

“It’s wonderful to see the children so eagerly go in depth on a topic as we provide them with a breadth of opportunities to learn — from computers to art to forensic science to newspaper reporting,” said Houry Boyamian, principal of the school.

— St. Stephen’s Armenian Elementary School

Art Hostage Comments:

What a wonderful story for this Thanksgiving Day 2009.

All too often we can get cynical about the failure to recover the iconic masterpieces cruelly ripped from the walls of the Gardner Museum.

A wonderful gesture by Anthony Amore to offer these brilliant young minds the chance to visit the world famous Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum.

Thanks must go to FBI Agent Geoff Kelly for taking time out of his extremely busy schedule to offer the next generation an insight into the tragedy of the Gardner Art Heist.

Interesting to note Steve Kurkjian, the award winning journalist in attendance, which leads me to wonder about the book he is bringing out in 2010 regarding the Gardner Art Heist.

Steve Kurkjian has been reporting on the Gardner Art Heist from day one, which should mean his book analysing the Gardner Art Heist will be a must read for all of us obsessed with seeing the Gardner artwork recovered.

Thing is, I cannot find any reference to where the Gardner Art Heist Book by Steve Kurkjian is going to be offered.

Memo to Steve Kurkjian:
"When is your book coming out and where can I buy a copy ??"

Art Hostage would like to extend Thanksgiving greetings to the American people and hope for the recovery of the Gardner art swiftly.
The man from Worcester says the man from Revere can recover the Gardner art !!!!!

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Stolen Art Watch, Gardner Art Reward and Immunity, Carmen Get it, Been A Long Hawley, That's Amore !!!

It is with great anticipation and hope Art Hostage can announce Carmen Ortiz has been confirmed by the Senate as the next U.S. Attorney for Massachusetts. (Alright, a little early)

Art Hostage prays Carmen Ortiz, together with Anne Hawley and Anthony Amore, will be the ones who announce to the world they have recovered the stolen Gardner art, with a little help from their friends.

Carmen Milagros Ortiz
District of Massachusetts
Nominated: September 17, 2009
Committee Questionnaire
Reported By Committee: Oct. 29, 2009
Confirmed By Senate: Nov. 5th 2009
For those not familiar with Carmen Ortiz see her "Questionnaire for Non-Judicial Nominees", below:

Carmen Ortiz will have the crucial say in whether Immunity is granted in the Gardner Art Heist case.

Anthony Amore, Head of Security at the Gardner Museum will have the crucial say in how any reward is paid and what amount of reward is paid, depending on what stolen Gardner Art is recovered.

Above all else, it is these people who hold the keys to the $5 million reward offer and the immunity from prosecution in relation to recovering the Gardner art.

The Ortiz, Hawley and Amore Team Ready for action !!!

Photo Op Number One, Gardner Museum, Ortiz, Hawley and Amore.

The 20th year Commemoration is fast approaching and the prospect of making a recovery has increased to a state of "High Alert"

Art Hostage recommends Carmen Ortiz visit the Gardner Museum and speaks to Anthony Amore and Anne Hawley in a "Getting to know you" manner so a combined message can be released jointly, publicising the renewed vigor and desire to recover the stolen Gardner art in a pragmatic way, that does not involve arrests and sees the reward paid in full to whomever provides the location of the Stolen Gardner art.

In short, which Catholic Church Confession box contains the stolen Gardner art, and once recovered, the reward will be paid in full without any repercussions.

Ted Kennedy and Harold Smith look down from on high and approve of the Ortiz/Hawley and Amore partnership.

If goodwill is the necessary ingredient for recovering the Stolen Gardner art, then Ortiz, Hawley and Amore have the best chance in 20 years, go for it !!!
P.S. Art Hostage is aware of the latest Gardner Heist and Whitey Bulger briefings !!!
Watch this space for significant developments, timing is being worked out as I write.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Stolen Art Watch, Noortman Revisited ??????

Creditors Seize Dutch Museum’s Art Collection

SPANBROEK, Netherlands—Officials at the Scheringa Museum of Realist Art say that ABN Amro Bank has seized 130 paintings from its collection, reportedly to cover a $48 million loan that the museum’s namesake owner — Dirk Scheringa, president of the DSB Bank — has failed to repay.
The paintings were owned by DSB Beheer, which owns DSB Bank and was declared bankrupt this week. It now appears that Dirk Scheringa pledged the paintings at the museum as collateral for the loan.
Officials at the museum estimated the total value of the works at $60 million.

May 2009:

Armed robbers steal paintings from Dutch museum

THE HAGUE, Netherlands — Masked gunmen stole two paintings from a Dutch museum Friday, including a work by surrealist Salvador Dali, officials said.

Police said several robbers threatened a guard at the Scheringa Museum for Realism in Spanbroek with a gun before making off with two paintings. Nobody was injured.

The robbers took “Adolescence,” a 1941 gouache by Dali and “La Musicienne,” an oil painting from 1929 by Polish-born art deco painter Tamara de Lempicka, the museum said in a statement.

The paintings’ value was not released, but the museum says they are among the top works in its collection.

The Dali painting was 18 x 12 inches (45 by 30 centimeters) and the De Lempicka’s was 46 x 29 inches (116 by 73 centimeters).

“We deeply regret the theft and hope the works are traced soon,” according to a statement from the museum, which is 30 miles (50 kilometers) north of Amsterdam.

The Dali painting shows a landscape in which a woman’s face can be seen — her lips and nose are formed by the back of a seated woman and her eyes are part of two hills in the background.

The Lempicka shows a woman in a vivid blue dress playing a mandolin-like instrument.

The museum houses the art collection of wealthy Dutch banker Dirk Scheringa and his wife.

Art Hostage Comments;

Timing is everything !!

Noortman anybody ??????

Friday, October 16, 2009

Stolen Art Watch, Weisman Warhols Ready To Come Home !!!

LOS ANGELES — A prominent art collector who reported stolen 11 original silk screen paintings by Andy Warhol has waived the insurance policy he owns to protect the art, authorities said Thursday.

Collector Richard L. Weisman said he couldn't take the thought of insurance investigators poring through his records and questioning family and friends.

"They turn you into a suspect," Weisman told the Seattle Times. "I just finally told them, 'I'm not going to go through it for three to five years. Forget it. ... That's the only reason, and it's a good enough reason."

Police Detective Mark Sommer confirmed Weisman's move to the Los Angeles Times and said Weisman has been difficult to track down.

"It is curious," Sommer said. "We'd like to talk to him about it."

The missing paintings were discovered by the family's longtime nanny at Weisman's Los Angeles home Sept. 3. Weisman was in Seattle at the time.

Police said there was no forced entry, a home alarm system was not on, and other valuable works of art were left untouched. There are no suspects in the case.

"Everything in the house was untouched, there wasn't even an ashtray overturned," Weisman told the Seattle Times.

Ten of the 40-inch-square portraits — believed to be worth at least $1 million apiece — feature famous athletes of the 1970s, including Muhammad Ali, Jack Nicklaus, Pele and Dorothy Hamill. The other is of Weisman himself, likely a commissioned portrait.

Weisman said he got to know Warhol when he was working as an investment banker in New York in the early 1970s.
Art Hostage Comments;
Now the hard part, how to quietly allow these Warhol's to surface !!!

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Stolen Art Watch, Pebble Beach Art Heist, Polygraph Solves the Case !!!

Pebble Beach Art Heist, Crunch Time !!!

To solve the Pebble Beach stolen art case once and for all, a simple polygraph test taken by both the victims will conclude proceedings.
Failure to do so will result in three and a half words from Police:
"You're Under Arrest"

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Stolen Art Watch, Pebble Beach Stolen Art, Vertigo !!

Multimillion-Dollar Art Heist May Be Hoax

Art Collection Owners Not Being Ruled Out As Suspects

BOSTON -- A former Harvard doctor and his business partner are not being ruled out as a suspects in an alleged art heist at their California home in which millions of dollars of artwork was stolen, officials said Tuesday.

The Monterey County Sheriff's Department said they are not ruling out that the heist, which could be worth as much as $80 million, is a hoax.

During the news conference, Cmdr. Mike Richards repeatedly said that his department has asked the collection's owners, A. Benjamin Amadio and Dr. Ralph Kennaugh, who worked at Harvard, to come forward and cooperate.

"It's hard to conduct an investigation when the victims aren't being cooperative," Richards said.

Richards also said they arrested Danny Griffith, who Amadio and Kennaugh said was a suspect, and he was released after giving an "airtight alibi," and that both Amadio and Kennaugh are suspects.

"Our office has been taking this case seriously since it came to us. We are doing the best we can with what we have," Richards said.

Amadio and Kennaugh unveiled the identity of a local insurance broker who they said was one of two agents working to make sure the art was insured prior to the theft.

In the release issued by lawyers for Amadio and Kennaugh, they said David R. St. John, an insurance broker with Insurance Consultants, had visited the Pebble Beach home several times prior to the theft, and personally saw the art collection, which was stolen on Sept. 25.

Richards said that Amadio and Kennaugh haven't told the sheriff's office anything about an insurance broker.

Last week, Monterey County called in crime experts from southern California to help out with the case. The owners of the collection, meanwhile, have called in their own private investigator and have contacted the FBI.

Adding another twist to the case was a ransom note that was found in the home several days after the heist. Amadio and Kennaugh said the note read, "Pay up or die."

The owners have said from the beginning that they think the heist was an inside job and that the chances of getting their art back are slim.

Art Hostage Comments:
Please, no self harm, drug overdoses or other symantics.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Stolen Art Watch, Pebble Beach Art Heist, You're No Gardner Art Heist !!

Pebble Beach theft could rank 2nd in U.S. art heists

Herald Staff Writers
Updated: 10/04/2009 01:29:41 AM PDT

If the owners' estimates are anywhere near correct, the value of the art reported stolen from a Pebble Beach home nine days ago makes it one of the biggest art heists in U.S. history.

Collector Angelo Benjamin Amadio says art experts have told him the take may be second in the country to the world's biggest unsolved art theft: the 1990 haul from Boston's Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum that included works by Vermeer, Rembrandt and Degas and has been valued at $300 million.

The estimated value of the Pebble Beach theft has increased by millions since it was announced in a press release a week ago. The first estimates, which Amadio says were made before an inventory of the loss was completed, placed the value of the missing art at $27 million — a total based on a 2002 inventory of the collection.

By Friday, the Boston Globe reported that Vicki St. John, an attorney representing Amadio and his friend and business partner Dr. Ralph Kennaugh, said that about 30 pieces had been stolen — and the total value could now be as much as $100 million.

But Amadio said experts have told him the pieces' current value would more likely range from $60 million to $80 million.

"Put it this way: If someone had given us $80 million, we would have taken it."

Among the works listed as stolen were paintings and drawings by Rembrandt, Matisse, Miro, Renoir and Van Gogh. There might also be a Degas in the lot, he said.

The purported crown jewel of the heist is a 7-foot-long painting by Jackson Pollock that Amadio said has never been publicly displayed and may not have been included in any "catalogue raisonne," the art world's term for a listing of an artist's body of work. But private collectors "know about the piece," Amadio said.

Nancy Netzer, director of the McMullen Museum at Boston College and a professor of art history, said, "I do think it's possible that there are Pollack paintings not in the catalogue raisonne. How likely in any specific case would depend on what is known of the picture's provenance."

Amadio showed reporters several pages of paperwork that he said described the provenance and authenticity of the missing painting. The Pollock piece alone may be worth anywhere from $20 million to $60 million, he said.7

As with any large-scale art theft, there has been speculation as to how insurance figures into the loss.

One the men's two insurance agents, Jerry Seagraves of Capitola, said Thursday the men had policies covering a fair amount of art and personal articles, but he didn't know yet if the missing art was among them.

"It's a terrible catastrophe to have to go through," Seagraves said.

Arthur Dion, who for 20 years was president of the Boston Art Dealers' Association, said that while not insuring valuable works of art isn't recommended, it's not unheard of.

"It's crazy," he said, "but plausible.

Art Hostage Comments:

News is breaking about a possible big break in the Pebble Beach art heist case and it could all be over by the end of the week.

Upon a more sobering note, anyone remember Lloyd Bentsen when he said to Dan Quayle in the 1984 Vice-presidential debate:

"Senator, you're no Jack Kennedy" ???

Well, Art Hostage says about the Pebble Beach art heist:

"You're no Gardner Art Heist"

More to follow...............................

Friday, October 02, 2009

Stolen Art Watch, Pebble Beach Stolen Art Mystery, Time For the Big Guns, Robert Wittman and the L.A. FBI Art Crime Team !!!

Website for Retired FBI Icon Robert Wittman:
Owners of Stolen Art Question Law Enforcements Actions
PEBBLE BEACH -- The victims in last week's big Pebble Beach art heist and the Monterey County Sheriff's Office both said Thursday they were done talking about the case -- for the time being.

But they didn't fall silent before taking pokes at each other.

In a statement, Angelo Amadio and Dr. Ralph Kennaugh, who claim they lost up to $80 million worth of artwork in a Sept. 25 burglary at their rented Sunridge Road home, said they wouldn't do further press interviews or make statements about the case because of "concern that the investigation process could be adversely affected."

The Sheriff's Office said in a press release that it would not comment on the reported art theft until a press conference early next week.

Amadio and Kennaugh, business partners in a number of ventures, put out the first press release outlining the alleged burglary Sunday. They said they had lost 13 valuable pieces of art, including works by Rembrandt, Renoir, Van Gogh and Jackson Pollock, in an afternoon burglary at the Pebble Beach residence.

They initially put the value of the missing artwork at $27 million. By mid-week, after they said they were able to inventory their collection, the number of missing pieces grew to about 30, with a total value of $60 million to $80 million.

In their statement Thursday, the men said questions had arisen about "the delayed response of local law enforcement in Monterey County." They said the Sheriff's Office took the burglary report about 7 p.m. the day it happened, but did not send fingerprint technicians and detectives to the home until Tuesday.

Their statement said an extortion note that contained a demand for money and threats to kill them was found at the scene "by the officers present."

That contradicts information previously released by the Sheriff's Office, which said the purported extortion note was turned over to investigators after Amadio told the press about it.

"The Sheriff's Office is concerned about statements and information released by others compromising the integrity of the investigation," its press release said.

Sheriff's spokesman Cmdr. Mike Richards said he couldn't comment on the investigation.

In their statement, Amadio and Kennaugh said they appreciated media coverage of the burglary and said "some valuable tips have been provided to law enforcement officials."

The men said their collection of some 300 pieces of art had been shipped to the Pebble Beach home from Boston where they had operated a wholesale art business for about 10 years. They said most of the pieces were uninsured.

They said the most valuable piece, a Jackson Pollock painting they obtained in 2001, had never been publicly shown and could be worth more than $20 million.
Art theft victims aim to set record straight
Extortion note discovered by associate, not police, collector says
The men who say they lost tens of millions of dollars worth of fine art in a Pebble Beach home burglary sought Friday to patch a rift with the county Sheriff's Office.
Meanwhile, a Sheriff's Office spokesman said the investigation into the large-scale art heist could lead to unrelated criminal charges.

An attorney for Angelo Amadio and Dr. Ralph Kennaugh clarified a dispute over who discovered a purported extortion note that was found at the Sunridge Road house earlier this week.

On Thursday, the men claimed that deputies "at the scene" found the note, which reportedly included a demand for money and death threats, while they were processing the scene Tuesday.

In a "correction" released Friday, they say the note "was discovered by one of Mr. Amadio's associates who was present."

The Sheriff's Office maintains the note was turned over to investigators after it was found in the house.

Amadio and Kennaugh say their rented house was burglarized Sept. 25 and that up to $80million worth of artwork from an extensive collection was taken, including works by Jackson Pollock, Rembrandt, Miro and Renoir.

Sheriff's Office spokesman Cmdr. Mike Richards said, "Basically my only comment is that we're glad Mr. Amadio has corrected one of the errors."

The two men, who say their art collection was shipped to the Pebble Beach home over the past two months, earlier criticized the Sheriff's Office for not sending investigators and evidence technicians to the home until four days after the reported break-in.
Richards said deputies continue to investigate the reported burglary, in which the men say they not only lost up to $100million worth of art, but a computer and $3,100 in cash.

"We are also exploring other possibilities and motivations which may or may not culminate in unrelated or related criminal charges," he said.

Richards declined to elaborate, citing the Sheriff's Office's decision to "maintain silence" about the ongoing investigation.

He said a news conference about the case will be held early next week.
Art Hostage Comments:

Those who read this blog and the Art Hostage blog will know Art Hostage has some informed opinions on global art theft, based upon a unblemished 15 year career in trafficking stolen art around the world and eight years M.A. and B.A. (Hons) University education.

So, the advice to the victims and local Law Enforcement from Art Hostage is take a deep breath and a step back.

Art Hostage does not apportion blame to either local Law Enforcement or to the victims.

Neither side were prepared for this huge art heist and neither side should be expected to take the heavy burden of investigating this tragic, specialised crime.

The investigation should now be co-ordinated between the L.A. FBI Art Crime Team and from the private sector Robert Wittman, who has retired from being the FBI Art Crime Team Guru.

Robert Wittman can be contacted here:

Robert Wittman brings to the table 30 years experience as an FBI Agent of distinction and was the Founding Father of the FBI Art Crime Team.

Robert Wittman also has the distinction of being a genuine art lover and his first concern, especially as he is now in the private sector, is the recovery of the stolen art.

However, since retiring FBI Icon Robert Wittman now brings to the table a pragmatism that means he is fully able to negotiate as well as investigate art crimes.

The whole process of recovering stolen art is a minefield littered with those who think they can act alone, be that from Law Enforcement or the private sector.

There are mechanisms which can see stolen art recovered and payments made without breaking the law and to the satisfaction of the victims, insurers and Law Enforcement.

The problem has always been to get agreement and getting all sides on board.

Until Robert Wittman retired most attempts to broker an acceptable deal had been a "Bridge to Nowhere" in recent times.

The Pebble Beach art theft is a Golden opportunity to demonstrate this new found pragmatism and show that with a little ingenuity the retention of Robert Wittman can be the key to a quick resolution to this and many other historic art theft cases.

All the while local Law Enforcement and the victims are competing for the headlines and playing a game of one-upmanship,*** ******* will not release findings that will speed up the investigation.

Art Hostage, whilst his attention is firmly fixed on California, he also has an eye cast on the past and East from Pebble Beach towards the East Coast.

Revelations could give juicy headlines, but do not serve to recover the art.

When the L.A. FBI Art Crime Team take over the criminal investigation and Robert Wittman takes over the private investigation, that is the time when the art will be recovered, unless someone breaks cover beforehand.
Cracks are starting to appear, how long can the Dam hold ???

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Stolen Art Watch, Pebble Beach Art Theft, Double Bubble, Toil and Trouble !!!

More art reported stolen during Pebble Beach heist

Inventory reveals 25 to 30 missing pieces with combined worth of $60 million to $80 million

Last week's big Pebble Beach art heist got bigger Tuesday.
A spokesman for two business partners renting a home in Pebble Beach who reported that 13 pieces of art worth $27 million were taken in a Friday burglary said the number of missing pieces has doubled as the victims inventoried their losses.

Chris Marohn, spokesman for Dr. Ralph Kennaugh, a retired Boston radiation oncologist, and business partner Angelo Benjamin Amadio said the inventory was about 75 percent complete, and the number of missing pieces stands at 25 to 30 with a combined worth of between $60 million and $80 million.

The victims said the artwork was shipped to their Sunridge Road home about two months ago as they made plans to buy land and build in Carmel Highlands. Artwork was missing from the garage and the main house at the residence, Marohn said.

In their original report, the victims said the stolen pieces, which included works by Miro, Rembrandt, Van Gogh and Jackson Pollock, were worth about $27 million. Some of the items were insured, but most were not, Marohn said.

Amadio previously said they had not insured the pieces because it would have cost millions to insure the extensive collection. Marohn said Tuesday the men have contacted their insurance company and put in claims, but he wouldn't say for how much.

On Monday, the art collectors offered rewards of $1 million for the return of their artwork and $5 million for information leading to arrests and prosecutions of people

involved in the alleged theft.
Amadio said he thought the thieves were professional art thieves who knew about their collection and most likely had customers lined up in the art world's black market. The two men assembled the collection during the early part of the decade when they had a Boston gallery, he said.

Marohn said, "We have received a couple phone calls, and we have forwarded those phone calls to the Monterey County Sheriff's Office. I have no idea how promising they look."

He said the art theft was reported to the FBI, which advised the victims to contact Interpol and private investigators.

FBI offices in San Francisco and Watsonville didn't respond to phone messages from The Herald.
Sheriff's Office spokesman Cmdr. Mike Richards said early Tuesday that deputies were at the Pebble Beach home "working on the scene." He said there were reports a window was pried open to gain access to the home.

"We're treating it at face value on what was reported to us," he said.

Later in the day, Richards said, "We have nothing new to report, but the investigation is progressing."

Marohn said Amadio and Kennaugh "don't believe they will ever see" the stolen items again. Other pieces in their collection were being transferred to a secure location Tuesday, he said.

He said the victims remain at the house, but are scouting for other locations on the Central Coast.

Amadio is the president of a recently incorporated investment company that he said specializes in high-value assets, including property, artwork and gems.

In an e-mail Monday, he said the two men hoped to start an auto museum in the Monterey area within a few years and display much of their artwork there.

Marohn said people who knew the men through their gallery have expressed concern about the massive theft. Others have been less kind, he said, saying, "It's our fault."

He said Amadio and Kennaugh's main goal was to alert police and the media "to get the word out that we want it back."

Larry Parsons can be reached at 646-4379 or
Art Hostage Comments:

I realise I shouldn't strut, but this case is about to be cracked !!!!!
O'h, the ransom note, that's old news, keep up !!
Better be quick if you want a piece of the reward.
Just like an episode of Columbo, Art Hostage has solved this case in 60 minutes !!
Expect one or more of these stolen artworks to mysteriously turn up shortly and that will be followed by the disclosure one of the victims has secretly paid a ransom and recovered some of the stolen art without Police involvement.
That will be followed by a potential prosecution of both victims for paying the ransom.
In the meantime the thieves identity is known to the Police but they cannot recover the rest of the stolen art and have no direct evidence against the thieves or who organised the theft.
Then the delicate negotiations commence to make an Art Hostage, arrest free, ransom free, recovery.
Contact Art Hostage:

Monday, September 28, 2009

Stolen Art Watch, Pebble Beach $27 million Art Heist, Update, Revised, $67 million Value, $6 million Reward Offer !!!

Big art theft reported in Pebble Beach

The Monterey County Herald

Updated: 09/28/2009 11:08:42 AM PDT

Two Pebble Beach residents say $27 million worth of art work, including works by Rembrandt, Van Gogh and Jackson Pollock, were stolen Friday from their Sunridge Road residence.
A. Benjamin Amadio said he and his housemate, Dr. Ralph Kennaugh, a retired Harvard medical professor, returned home about 6:50 p.m. Friday to find 13 pieces and other items stolen.

He said they reported the theft to the Monterey County Sheriff's Office, and he expects the FBI will also work the major art-theft case.

They have offered a $1 million reward for a return of all the pieces.

He said they have been renting the residence where the pieces were stored for a couple of months while preparing to build in Carmel Highlands.

Amadio said he suspects whoever took the pieces knew them and of their collection.

"The knew exactly what we had. We believe they were professional art thieves," Amadio said today. He said he is an entrepreneur who deals in assets such as property, gems and art work.

The stolen works were in the men's personal collection, he said.

The missing pieces include three by G.H. Rothe, one by Pollock, one by Matisse, four by Miro, two by Rembrandt, one by Renoir and one by Van Gogh, they said.
Art Hostage Comments:
Sorrow !!!!!
It now appears the value of the stolen art has been increased to around $67 million, with the Jackson Pollack being the most valuable at $30-$60 million.
Mr Amadio and Mr Kennaugh have sincerely offered a reward of $1 million for the safe return of the art and $5 million for the arrest and conviction of the thieves.
Initial checks made by Art Hostage about Mr Amadio and Mr Kennaugh reveal they are both thoroughly decent, honest, sincere, genuine gentlemen.
However, honourable as it may be, to pay the $1 million for the return of the art no questions asked would be against the law and would leave both Mr Amadio and Mr Kennaugh liable to be prosecuted.
Still, lets not forget this $6 million reward offer is the highest in American history and does expose the $5 million reward offer made for the return of the stolen Gardner art back in 1997 as out of date and out of touch with current market values.
That said, Anthony Amore, Director of security at the Gardner Museum is not one to allow the grass to grow beneath his feet and I am sure he will take on board this latest reward offer of $6 million and perhaps re-evaluate the $5 million reward offer made by the Gardner museum back in 1997.
Art Hostage has for the last two years urged Anthony Amore to consider doubling the Gardner museum reward offer from $5 million to $10 million next March 2010 to mark the 20 years since the Gardner Art Heist.
With this latest reward offer surpassing the Gardner Museum $5 million reward offer of 1997, the time has come to take another look at the Gardner Museum reward offer and adjust accordingly.
Art Hostage has already had many enquires about the Pebble Beach art heist, not least about how to collect the reward. Art Hostage will respond to you all as soon as possible.
Art Hostage is prepared to offer honest opinions and will also give a legal guide on how any reward may be obtained to those seeking a pathway to resolve the Pebble Beach art heist.
Contact Art Hostage at:
More to follow.....................

Stolen Art Watch, Yorkville Gallery Toronto, Latest Victim in Pandemic Art Theft !!!

Thieves take paintings in Yorkville gallery smash-and-grab

Posted: September 28, 2009, 9:43 AM by Rob Roberts

By Megan O'Toole, National Post

A brazen overnight smash-and-grab at an art gallery in Yorkville yesterday netted thieves more than $50,000 in rare paintings.

All three were composed by ailing Quebecois artist Pierre Gauvreau, whose abstract work was on display for a retrospective show at Gallery Gevik that opened the previous day. Mr. Gauvreau's wife and agent, Janine Carreau, was devastated to find out about the theft yesterday afternoon in a phone call with the National Post.

"No, no," Ms. Carreau said from the couple's Montreal home. "This is incredible.... This is very awful. It breaks the show down. These were the most rare pieces."

The Gevik show marked the 30th anniversary of Mr. Gauvreau's first solo exhibition in Toronto in 1979 at the Hazelton Avenue Gallery, the same building that now houses Gevik.

Police say thieves smashed the main window and grabbed the most easily accessible works, including the 32-inch-by-32-inch City in Turmoil (above), an $18,000 acrylic-on-canvas work that was on display in the gallery's front window.

The other two acrylic-on-paper works, each valued at $16,500, were titled Night Stuck Between Daylight and Ballad for John Wayne. All were originals from the early 1980s, and Mr. Gauvreau did not make any copies of the paintings, his wife said.

Gallery owner Phillip Gevik said his alarm went off around 1:30 a.m., and police arrived soon afterward. No one in the area reported hearing or seeing anything suspicious around that time, he said.

The gallery was not equipped with a video camera, Toronto Police Detective Jamie McCormack said, but authorities were planning to check surveillance video from surrounding stores for clues.

This type of burglary has become something of a regular occurrence in Yorkville's high-end art galleries, Det. McCormack said -- and the crime has also been rising throughout Canada.

"Generally these kinds of art thefts of originals go to a specific place; they don't generally end up in dealerships," Det. McCormack said. "They're stolen for a specific person, stolen to order. It's hard to say where they'll end up."

Across the country, art burglary has become more common in recent years as Canadians have gained confidence in the secure investment potential of artworks and cultural artifacts. Authorities have pointed to an increasing number of reports from border officials encountering art crime.

Most art thefts in the country have traditionally been probed simply as stolen property, with only a couple of investigators dedicated exclusively to stolen artworks.

The trio stolen from Gevik were some of the most valuable per square inch in Mr. Gauvreau's collection, Ms. Carreau said. It had been many years since Mr. Gauvreau displayed his work in Toronto, she added, and the pair had initially viewed the opportunity to present another show at the Hazelton site as "a good omen."

Mr. Gauvreau, who has been nicknamed "the born painter," has the craft "in his blood," Ms. Carreau said.

"Painting is very vital. He's a very great painter who has not received the attention, and now it's picking up. He's a great colourist," she said. "The way he renews himself from one painting to another is absolutely amazing."

Mr. Gauvreau has become quite well-known in the artistic community, Mr. Gevik said, calling the retrospective exhibition a "celebration" of his evolution over the past three decades.

"There aren't too many of his paintings out there," Mr. Gevik said. "That's why they're very important."

A note on the gallery's website describes Mr. Gauvreau's "subconscious" approach to painting: "The freshness, the immediacy and the freedom solidified his work as 'avant-garde.' "

One of the three stolen paintings was already on hold for a customer, after only one day of the three-week exhibition, Mr. Gevik said. All three were considered key showcase pieces, and though the exhibition will continue as scheduled until Oct. 16, it will not be the same, he said.

"Those are important paintings. He didn't want to sell them," Mr. Gevik said.

Mr. Gauvreau experienced a similar theft 10 years ago, when thieves broke into a Montreal gallery and stole five of his smaller paintings. The artworks were replaced and the show went on, but none of the stolen pieces were recovered until years later. Two are still missing.

Regardless, Ms. Carreau said, the paintings stolen in 1999 "were nothing compared to these.... These I can't replace. This is the problem."

Mr. Gauvreau's health has been declining in recent years since he suffered a stroke in the mid-1990s, Ms. Carreau said, which is why he could not make the trip to Toronto to attend his exhibition opening on Saturday.

"Although he can do lots of things, he has constant pain," she said. "He doesn't feel the pain when he paints."
Art Hostage Comments;
If there were to be a study of reported property theft worldwide, be it residential or commercial, and those involving art and antiques were to be separated from the rest, the true scale of the global pandemic in art related crime would become apparent.
However, if this were to happen Police might be forced to divert scarce resources towards combating art related crime.
The private sector can take up the slack but that is only in relation to post theft recovery and does nothing towards prevention.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Stolen Art Watch, Magritte's Olympia Will Have "Brush With The Law" Shortly !! Vermeer Alert !!!

THIEVES have stolen a painting by Belgian surrealist Rene Magritte in broad daylight from a Brussels museum dedicated to his life and works.

The 1948 nude, entitled Olympia and estimated to be worth up to €3 million ($5.07 million), was stolen by two people, one of them armed.

"Two individuals, one of them Asian - one speaking French, the other English - came into the museum armed with a pistol shortly after it opened" at around 10am local time, curator Andre Garitte said.

"The two men, whose faces weren't covered, forced two or three employees to lie down in the courtyard of the museum," he said. One of the thieves then climbed a glass panel protecting the work from the public and stole it.

A Brussels police spokesman said: "They fled on foot with the painting and left the scene in a car. The investigation is continuing but we have found no trace of the culprits."

The area was being checked for fingerprints, he said.

The museum, in the west of the Belgian capital, is in a house where the painter lived and worked for 24 years, and completed around half of his works.

Apart from paintings, there are about 100 personal objects and documents and can only be visited on request.

The oil painting depicts Magritte's wife Georgette laying with a shell on her stomach and measures 60 by 80 centimetres

Art Hostage Comments:

*+* were employed by * to steal this painting and it is headed your way Charlie !!

Sadly, * wants too many concessions at this stage for a quick recovery, before you get the Sliver Bird home.
Breaking News:
Word is coming through about the possible theft of a Vermeer in the Low Countries.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Stolen Art Watch, Art Stings Forced to the Middle East To Succeed !!!!

Three held in Iraqi art 'sting'

The bust of a Sumerian king is among eight stolen antiques recovered in an undercover operation by Iraqi police.

A local army commander said three men were arrested after trying to sell the pieces dating from the Sumerian period which ran from 2000 to 4000 BC.

Major General Abdul Amir al-Zaidi said the arrests were made south-west of Kirkuk.

It is not clear where the items came from but many treasures were looted from museums after the US-led invasion.

Major General al-Zaidi said the men were arrested after attempting to sell one of the artefacts for $160,000 (£98,000) to an undercover intelligence officer.

Fourth man

He said the sting operation took two weeks and was based on information gleaned from local residents.

"The duty of Iraqi army is not only to chase the terrorists but also to protect state treasures," he told reporters.

A fourth man is still being sought by police.

After the fall of Saddam Hussein's government in 2003, robbers stole valuable treasures from the National Museum in Baghdad and other institutions.

The museums held collections from the Assyrian, Sumerian and Babylonian cultures that covered 7,000 years of civilisation in ancient Mesopotamia.

Some items have been recovered but many are still missing.

Art Hostage Comments:

Law Enforcement sting operations are increasingly becoming a rarity in Europe and the U.S. because the Underworld have realised there is no mileage in attempting to hand back stolen art for reward or ransom.

Therefore it is only in countries lagging behind that allows Law Enforcement to successfully sting those in possession of stolen art and antiquities, whilst stolen art thieves and handlers in the West are much more aware of stings.

The conditions attached to any reward offer means unless the person with information becomes a Law Enforcement registered Informant the possibility of getting any money is remote to say the least.

The mysterious buyer of stolen art is almost always an undercover Police officer and history shows that there is a sting in tail of every stolen art recovery.

Those who try to pit themselves against Law Enforcement and end up with no reward, arrested and indicted, only have themselves to blame.

Those who offer proof of life and fail to follow through with a recovery, and then get themselves indicted for demonstrating control of the said stolen artwork also only have themselves to blame.

We can play the reward offer game all day and this panders to the public perception of huge reward payments, but those with control of, or access to, stolen art know full well the dangers in stepping forward.
Art Hostage has had enquires from Libya about the Gardner Art and also old Bernard Ternus continues to try and assist in the Gardner Art recovery.
More to follow..........................

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Stolen Art Watch, Gardner Art Heist, Absent Friends !!!

High Brow Reminder of Gaping Hole Left by Gardner Art Heist

BOSTON — .After midnight on March 18, 1990, two crooks disguised as cops bluffed their way into the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, handcuffed security guards and went to the Dutch Room where they ripped a masterpiece by Vermeer, two by Rembrandt and another by Govaert Flinck from their frames.

Entering that second floor room 17 years later, artist-in-residence Su-Mei Tse saw the still empty frames and sensed "the power of absence."

From that encounter, the Luxembourg-based artist created "Floating Memories," an installation that, like the crime that spawned it, is both intriguing and elusive.

Entering the museum's first-floor gallery, visitors to her multimedia installation will see a slightly raised wooden platform with designs etched into two sides and partially covered by a sumptuous gold silk rug from China.

Making the installation, Tse collaborated with Jean-Lou Majerus who built the platform. Facing the platform, a rectangular screen hangs from a wall at the darkest end of the gallery. Taking up most of the screen, the videotaped image of a record revolves in an endless loop.

Except for a few visitors, the only sound is quiet crackling static as the record wobbles slightly around an unseen spindle.

"Is that it?" a woman asked a male companion.

After they left, a student snuck a photo and wondered aloud, "What more does she want?"

An older couple came in and watched for a few minutes. The man told the woman the image of the spinning record "puts me to sleep." As they were leaving, the woman paused at the gallery's edge and looked again.

Like the theft of 13 priceless works of art, Tse's installation leaves people guessing.

Since art is generally in the eye of the beholder, that's fine.

For one man, a wooden cross suggests the deepest mysteries of faith. For another, it's just two wooden sticks.

The Gardner's Public Relations Director Katherine Armstrong said the peacock pattern embossed into two sides of the platform replicates the designs of the wallpaper in the Dutch Room.

"The platform evokes the empty frames," she said. "The entire work is about loss and memory."

The empty frames are still displayed in the Dutch Room because Gardner's will requires her collection be maintained unchanged.

Tse said she "doesn't want to be too precise" explaining her work. But she said the empty frames "left me with strong feelings."

"For me, those empty frames were like abstract paintings," she said in a recent telephone interview from Luxembourg. "I wanted to explore a certain memory. Maybe there would be a possibility to express an idea, to be more than a visitor."

Tse said the spinning record recalled her earliest childhood memory in her parents' home, which is why the image was filmed from a child's perspective.

"For me, the image of the record is like a landscape looking to the past," she said. "Memory has to do with the power of art when it works over time."

A classically trained cellist, Tse burst onto the international arts scene in 2003 when she won a Golden Lion award for Best National Participation at the 50th Venice Biennale for her first show, "Air Conditioned."

Visitors to the installation might reasonably ask whether they're expected to know all the subtle references to Gardner's collection and the 1990 robbery to appreciate an installation that initially appears willfully enigmatic.

Are they expected to know the pattern carved into the platform resembles the 17th century Italian silk damask that covered the Dutch Room walls in 1990?

Should they be expected to enjoy plumbing Tse's memories? Shouldn't an artist make them feel something?

On the other hand, for nearly 20 years detectives have sifted through all the evidence, testimony and rumors and still haven't solved the crime.

Describing the installation, the Gardner's curator of contemporary art, Pieranna Cavalchini, said, "'Floating Memories' are distant memories that suddenly bubble up to the surface of consciousness, only to recede again. But they are never quite forgotten."

"Su-Mei Tse's installation resonated within the Gardner's collection, particularly in the Dutch Room, where time has come to a complete standstill, while a sense of absence, distant memory and longing fades in and out of every empty frame," she said.

Could Cavalchini be suggesting special kinds of art like unsolved crimes create mysteries that resist deciphering?

After all, the crooks who visited the Dutch Room 19 years ago didn't expect to be caught. Why should Su-Mei Tse?


The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum is at 280 The Fenway, Boston. It is open 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday.

Admission: $12 for adults, $10 for seniors, and $5 for college students with current ID. A $2 discount is offered to adults and seniors when visiting both the Gardner and the Museum of Fine Arts within two days. Admission is free for museum members, children under 18 and everyone named Isabella.

"Floating Memories" runs through Oct. 18.

On Thursday, Sept. 17, a Gallery Talk will be held from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. Gallery talks are free with Gardner After Hours admission.

On Thursday, Sept. 24, at 6:30 p.m., a catalog signing and conversation with Su-Mei Tse and Pieranna Cavalchini will take place followed by a wine reception; $10 general public, $5 members and seniors, free for students.

For more information, call 617-566-1401 or visit

Art Hostage Comments:

It would be easy to dismiss this as an elitist, high brow pastiche.

However, I really think the whole point is to keep the flame burning for the return of the stolen Gardner art.

The sheer magnitude of the Gardner Art Heist means any artistic reflection is welcome and the lack of direct clarity is what makes this installation a wonderful, provocative reminder of the emptiness left by the tragic loss of the Vermeer and Rembrandt's Storm to the world.
For this and other reasons Art Hostage applauds the Gardner Museum.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Stolen Art Watch, Gardner Art Heist, Vermeer's Concert, Whitey Bulger, Topic of Chatter !!

Whitey Bulger, aged 80 on Sept 3rd 2009, FBI latest sketch, above.

Art Hostage has been listening to the chatter recently and although there has not been much to report, there is a little bit I thought I would share.

Information has been forthcoming about the "Gardner paintings being held in Washington"

Followed by "Vermeer recovered" coming from Seattle Washington state.
Allegedly, a Rembrandt has been recovered in Upstate New York ???
Enquires continue from Sydney, Australia about the history of the Degas' "La Sortie Du Pelage"

Enquires from the Middle East continue about the Gardner art.

Enquires from Galway, Ireland about the status of the Gardner art are ever present, as with other enquires from Ireland.
Enquires from Boca Raton, Florida, from a source close to Whitey Bulger about the status of the Gardner art.

Early 2009, Whitey Bulger landed in Florida after cruising the Caribbean.
Summer 2009 Whitey Bulger back in Bantry Bay, Ireland, renting a cottage.
Whitey Bulger currently located in ***************
Other than that, a quiet time for information about the Gardner Art Heist, but expectations are high for the Fall, starting next week !!!!
To be continued...................................

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Stolen Art Watch, Graff Diamond Robbery, Gotcha, As Sweeney Sucker Robbers With Latex Disguise !!! Update !!!!

Graff Jewel Heist, Arrests !!

Art Hostage has incredible breaking news.
Remember the Cockney rhyming slang for Flying Squad is "Sweeney Todd"

The Sweeney = Sweeney Todd =Flying Squad , an elite special armed robbery division of the London Metropolitan Police ; also used as the title of 70's TV series The Sweeney

Earlier today Police located two of the Graff robbers and as a precaution sent four Flying Squad Police officers to Covent Garden make up artists and had them disguised as elderly people, including wigs, false breasts and latex applied to the face.

These Flying Squad officers then approached the two Graff robbers without detection, quick as a flash they threw them to the ground and handcuffed them.

All the while, Mark Dalrymple, the Loss Adjuster working for the insurers on the Graff Jewel Heist observed.

Once the two Graff robbers were under arrest, Mark Dalrymple approached them as they lay on the ground and was met by the cry from both Graff robbers in unison:

"Who are these guys?"

Mark Dalrymple replied, with an ice cool stare from his piercing Blue eyes:

"They're the Sweeney, and they haven't had any dinner !!"

Enough to make Uncle Bertie Smalls turn in his grave.

Please watch this clip to hear the dinner quote at 1 minute:
Two men will appear in court Friday 21st August 2009 charged in connection with Britain's biggest jewellery raid.
Detectives investigating the £40million Graff Diamonds robbery have charged two men and continue to quiz a third suspect.
Solomun Beyene, 24, from St John's Wood, north London, and Craig Calderwood, 26, of no fixed abode, are accused of conspiring with others to rob Graff jewellers in Mayfair, central London.
The pair will appear at Wimbledon Magistrates Court
A third man held in connection with Britain’s biggest diamond robbery will appear Satarday 22nd August 2009 at Wimbledon Magistrates’ Court. Clinton Mogg, 42, from Bournemouth, is charged with conspiring with others to rob Graff jewellers in Central London.
More to follow...........................................

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Stolen Art Watch, Graff Jewel Heist, Déjà vu !! Update !!!

£40m jewels raid planned for two days earlier

The two men who pulled off Britain's biggest jewellery heist in central London planned to carry out the robbery two days earlier, Scotland Yard has said.
The announcement came as CCTV images of the men wanted in connection with the £40m raid at Graff Jewellers on Thursday were released showing them outside the store on Tuesday.

Detective Chief Inspector Pam Mace, head of Barnes Flying Squad, said "We believe this was more than just a practice run, and that they were planning on committing the robbery on the August 4."

The CCTV images show the men outside the New Bond Street store at around 5.40pm on Tuesday.

Ms Mace said: "The stills clearly show the men outside Graff Jewellers, looking into the shop, and the blue BMW driving through New Bond Street.

"There has been a £1m reward offered in connection with the identification, arrest and prosecution of the persons responsible, and the recovery of the stolen property offered up by Tyler and Company on behalf of the interested insurers, and I am urging anyone who has information about those responsible, or where the jewellery is to come forward.

"They are wearing similar clothing to when they committed the offence on Thursday August 6, however the white man is wearing, in these stills, a purple shirt and no tie.

"What happened on Tuesday August 4 after they left the area? Did you see them or the BMW, we need you to come forward and speak to us please."

A Scotland Yard spokesman said there was no indication why the men did not carry out the raid on Tuesday.

The robbers fired a gun during their escape on Thursday and again as they got into a silver Mercedes in nearby Dover Street and were challenged by drinkers at a pub.
The two Graff robbers are believed to have been bankrolled by a gangster who planned to hijack £22million of Graff gems at Heathrow last year – but aborted the raid at the last moment.
The crime boss, based near Tower Bridge in London, is being pursued for questioning, said a police source.
He is a white businessman from Essex – known as a ‘face’ – who has run a number of businesses within the London area.

He has a palatial house in Essex, Just round the corner from Mark Dalrymple, the Loss Adjuster in the Graff case, who might be willing to accept the stolen Graff jewels back over the garden fence ???
An underworld source, a former armed robber, said it was originally planned to seize Graff’s diamonds as they were about to be couriered to New Bond Street from Heathrow more than a year ago.
He said: ‘The initial plan involved a mole within Graff who was tipping off the team on how to co-ordinate the robbery. He was part of the security team within the store.
The gems were to be flown into Heathrow and then a three-man squad would impersonate Graff’s security personnel, hijack the shipment at a private area and then disappear.
‘But after four months of planning, the final shipment was cancelled and the team decided to reassess how they were going to hit the store.’
According to the source, the middle-aged crime boss portrays an image of respectability in his day-to-day life but for the past decade he has run a cadre of criminals he recruits from the streets of the capital.
The source says he employs up to 250 people, many of them drivers.
Company records show he was involved in setting up numerous firms within the security and building industry and then shutting some down within a matter of months.
Four security companies he was involved with have been dissolved in the past four months after trading for only a few years.
The source says that the ‘Mr Big’ became obsessed with hitting the upmarket jewellers and decided that however long it took, he would commit the biggest robbery he could possibly get away with
The source added that one of the two raiders caught on CCTV cameras at the shop was involved in the aborted plan to rob Graff at Heathrow.
The man, believed to be Ethiopean or Sudanese, is a highly skilled driver who works for the businessman as a trusted aide.
The gangland source said: ‘He is a trusted ally and has been around for the past couple of years.
‘He has been involved in previous work for the boss and is a big, intimidating presence.
‘He used to be a night driver for the boss’s company and he knows how to handle himself. The governor thought the world of him.
‘Over the past year and a half different faces would have changed within the planning but he has stayed throughout.
‘He is well-trained in the skills of high-speed driving and security work and I wouldn’t be surprised if he drove one of the getaway cars that were used.
‘Three cars and a motorcycle were used in last week’s raid and that is why he was such an integral part of the team.’ Police have confirmed DNA of one raider and are awaiting further results to identify the rest of the gang.

COPS probing the £40million Graff robbery may have found the gang's burned-out getaway car. -
Forensic experts are searching the VW Sharan - discovered in Ickenham, West London - for DNA clues.

The two gunmen used a Sharan after fleeing the store in London's Mayfair in a BMW and switching to a Mercedes.

Flying Squad cops are after a gang of six from South East and North London - and think they are still in Britain.

A police source said: "They haven't gone anywhere. We have impeccable intelligence they are lying low in the UK."


Top Israeli officials have been linked to Britain's biggest ever jewelry heist, in which gems worth up to $65 million (£40m) were stolen.

According to an Israeli report, three former senior officials in the Israeli army were the main share holders of the company responsible for guarding the Graff Diamond jewelers in central London, where the robbery took place.

The Universe Security Group (USG) has been in charge of the security of the store, after a group of Balkan robbers -- dubbed the Pink Panther gang -- carried out an armed raid on the same store in May 2005, taking off with 1 million pounds worth of diamonds.

Nahum Admoni, former Mossad chief and Maj. Gen. Uri Sagie, former chief of intelligence in the Israeli army, reportedly resigned from the leadership of the London-based group, just two months before the heist.

Another primary share holder of the security company is Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's special adviser, Isaac Molho.

Art Hostage Comments:
That's it then, case solved, we can all go home now !!!!
Not so fast !!!!!!!