Combating art crime

From stolen golden toilets and botched Dalí robberies, to fake Banksy NFTs and almost entirely fake museums, the scale of art crime is enormous. How do you tackle all this?

How does the FBI Art Crime team operate?Hyperallergic
Though high-profile art thefts certainly still happen — in March 2020, for example, a masterpiece by Vincent van Gogh was stolen from a Dutch museum that was temporarily closed under pandemic lockdown — the publicity generated around the theft of important works hinders their resale. The FBI Art Crime Team maintains a public “Top 10 Art Crimes” list inspired by the FBI’s “10 Most Wanted Fugitives” list, which has been around since 1950. Topping the list are artifacts looted from Iraq in 2003 — many of which have been recovered and repatriated, though thousands of returns remain outstanding — and the infamous Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum Heist, which involved the theft of an estimated $500 million of paintings in a single night in 1990; despite the museum’s offer of a $10 million reward, the crime remains unsolved more than three decades later.

Did you know there are more than 52,000 items on Interpol’s Stolen Works of Art database? Thankfully, there’s an app for that.

You can now report stolen art using Interpol’s new appHyperallergic
A new mobile app launched by Interpol, the global criminal police organization, aims to help identify and track stolen art and cultural property. The ID-Art app provides real-time access to the agency’s Stolen Works of Art database, an international archive of more than 52,000 objects verified to be missing along with images, descriptions, and certified police reports.

I was wondering if they got anywhere with that stolen Van Gogh from March 2020. It turns out they did.

Man sentenced to eight years in prison for theft of van Gogh and Hals paintingsARTnews.com
A Dutch man was sentenced to eight years in prison for stealing paintings by Vincent van Gogh and Frans Hals in 2020. In its ruling on Friday, the Central Netherlands Court also said the that the man, who was not identified in the sentencing, must pay €8.73 million ($10.2 million) to the owner of the Hals painting. Both the Hals and the van Gogh paintings remain missing.

Author: Terry Madeley

Works with student data and enjoys reading about art, data, education and technology.

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