Vermeer's The Concert

Vermeer's The Concert

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 !!!!!!!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Stolen Art Watch, Graff Jewel Heist, Dalrymple Dangles £1 Million Reward !!!

A reward of £1 million has been offered in the hunt for the robbers behind Britain's biggest jewellery heist at Graff's in London's Mayfair.

The insurers, Tyler and Company, have put up the large sum for information leading to the identification, arrest and prosecution of the robbers and the recovery of the £40 million worth of stolen items.

Det Ch Insp Pam Mace, of Scotland Yard's Flying Squad, said: "I think this is the biggest reward ever been offered for a crime of this type and I'm directing my appeal at people, and that includes criminal associates, who know who these robbers are and where they are."

On Thursday detectives disclosed that they had recovered a loaded gun connected to the robbery, in a potentially significant breakthrough. It was not one of the two handguns used in the actual raid but it is being tested for DNA samples and its links to any previous shootings.

The detective said: "Everytime we uncover new information that takes out inquiry forward. Several lines of inquiry are ongoing but I am happy with the way it is progressing."

After the biggest ever cash robbery in Britain - a £53 million heist on a Securitas depot in Kent - an unprecedented £2m reward was offered. In the coming days, police managed to locate millions of pounds stashed in locations across Kent and south-east London.

Detectives are still trying to trace two of the three getaway cars used in relay by the robbers to escape central London.

It emerged earlier this week that the robbers hired a make-up artist to give them latex disguises just hours before they carried out the raid.

An unsuspecting 29-year-old artist, who notified police and may now be put under the witness protection programme, giving him a new identity, altered the suspect's hair colour and skin tone in a four-hour session. He had been led to believe they were appearing in a pop video and was told to make them look older.

The two men changed into suits and left the studio before taxing a black cab to Graff's, where it is believed they had set up an appointment under a false name. They stole 43 items of jewellery, encrusted with almost 1,500 diamonds, and fired warning shots as they left, having briefly taken a female employee hostage.

Forensic officers have seized items including hairbrushes, gowns and bank notes from a studio in central London to try to find DNA samples.

Investigators are still trawling through hundreds of hours of CCTV footage to piece together the robbers' exact escape route.

They are looking for at least two accomplices who helped the men escape last Thursday.

It is suspected that the jewels were stolen to order and police are investigating whether an insider was involved.

Witnesses said the men had genuine London accents, despite the fact little was said and the robbery was over in under two minutes.

Detectives arrested and questioned a 50-year-old man in Ilford, east London, on Monday in connection with the robbery.

They suspect that the man, who has been released on bail, may have been involved in planning the raid, although he was not in the West End when it took place.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Stolen Art Watch, Gardner Art Heist, Anthony Amore, Behind the Scenes, Sterling Efforts !!!

Largest Art Heist In the World, What Could Have Been Done to Prevent It

After countless FBI searches, deals with the mob, and 19 years, $300 million dollars worth of art have still not been recovered.

In 1990 the largest art heist in history was performed resulting in 13 masterpieces of art, from painters like Rembrandt and Manet, missing from the Isabella Gardner Museum in Boston. Running in circles like chickens without heads, officials were plagued by false leads, empty promises, chases across the globe from China to antique shops in Boston, and failing spirits. 19 years later they have made no arrests and are no closer to retrieving the stolen pieces.

For extremely rare and precious pieces, like Rembrandt’s “Storm on the Sea of Galilee”, which was his only seascape, museums might want to consider embedding GPS tracking devices in the art so that if they ever are stolen they could easily be found again. Instead, officials spent years traveling all over the world following every tip they got, including some very expensive trips to Japan, only to find dead ends or replicated pieces.
But before we think about what could be done after the art is stolen, there are precautions to be taken while still in the museum. First, laser sensor alarms can be placed a certain distance away from paintings that, when crossed, will sound an alarm and notify security that someone has gotten extremely close to the paintings. Other protective measures, such as alarms that automatically shut down the museum if a painting is dismounted, can also be taken.

Another precaution that museums can take is to install hidden cameras. While the Isabella Gardner Museum was smart in setting up surveillance tapes- having them so visible and easily destroyed, renders them almost useless under a serious attack. The surveillance tapes planted in the museum were ripped out by the two thieves along with the paintings. Having smaller, covert surveillance equipment in addition to the more obvious installations can ensure that the thief will be identifiable.

The remains from the pillage can still be seen on the museum. Isabelle Gardner specifically stated in her will that absolutely nothing can be changed about her museum. The savaged corners of some of these masterpieces are still at the scene of the crime. These relics of the theft are the new show on display at the museum now instead of the timeless pieces of art. One must stop and wonder what could have been done to prevent this- what modern day museums could learn from this serious security breach.

Art Hostage Comments:

What this article fails to mention is the efforts of Anthony Amore, Director of Security at the Gardner Museum, since he joined the Museum.

With a background in Homeland Security, Anthony Amore has applied discreet measures that allow the public full access to the museum but also provide the most cutting edge security.

Friday, August 07, 2009

Stolen Art Watch, FBI Art Crime Team Sting Into Action !!!!

Attempted Sale of Stolen Pablo Picasso Etching

WILMINGTON, Del., Aug. 7 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Acting U.S. Attorney David C. Weiss and Tricia A. Gibbs, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Supervisory Special Agent announced today the unsealing of an indictment charging Marcus Patmon with wire fraud in the attempted sale of a stolen Pablo Picasso etching entitled "Le Repas Frugal."

The indictment charges that Patmon devised a scheme to defraud a victim identified as "C.E.B." by falsely claiming to be the true owner of "Le Repas Frugal" in connection with its attempted sale. In fact, as Patmon knew, "Le Repas Frugal" had been previously stolen from a West Palm Beach, Fla., art gallery, on May 22, 2008. From July through September 2008, an FBI special agent, acting in an undercover capacity, engaged Patmon in negotiations concerning the sale of the etching, which has an estimated value of $300,000.

Patmon, 38, is a resident of Miami, Fla. He faces a maximum statutory sentence of 20 years in prison, a $250,000 fine, three years of supervised release, restitution, and a $100 mandatory special assessment.

Acting U.S. Attorney David C. Weiss said, "This investigation and prosecution demonstrate our commitment to addressing the illicit sale of stolen art, a problem that is international in scope. I applaud our law enforcement partners, the FBI Art Crime Team and the Palm Beach Police Department, for the thorough investigation that exposed this scheme. Our office will continue to vigorously investigate and prosecute art crime in the future."

This case is being prosecuted by David L. Hall, Assistant U.S. Attorney.

SOURCE U.S. Department of Justice.