Showing posts with label reward. Show all posts
Showing posts with label reward. Show all posts

December 19, 2014

$25,000 reward offered by FBI and LAPD for investigation into 2008 art burglary in Encino

by Catherine Schofield Sezgin, ARCA Blog Editor-in-Chief

The Los Angeles Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) held a press conference today and announced a $25,000 reward for help in the continuing investigation of a 2008 residential burglary:
The Los Angeles Police Department posted a $200,000 reward after the theft of the 12 paintings six years ago.

The FBI press release today concluded with:
"Also attached is a photo of the suspect, Raul Espinosa, 46, who was arrested in October and charged by the Los Angeles County District Attorney with possession of the stolen paintings. Espinosa's alias is Jorge Alberto Lara. Espinosa, who had been residing in Los Angeles prior to his arrest, is a Mexican national. The joint investigation by the FBI and the LAPD is continuing."

February 1, 2014

Saturday, February 01, 2014 - ,, No comments

Lipinski Stradivarius violin theft: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's Ashley Luthern reports "$100,000 reward announced in Stradivarius violin theft"

Frank Almond: Lipinski Stradivarius
Ashley Luthern of the Journal Sentinel (Milwaukee) reports "$100,000 reward announced in Stradivarius violin theft" (January 31):
A $100,000 reward was announced Friday for a priceless 300-year-old Stradivarius violin that was stolen in an armed robbery this week. Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra concertmaster Frank Almond was attacked with a stun gun Monday and robbed of the violin, which has been on indefinite loan to him from its anonymous owners since 2008, a common practice in the music world. The reward will be offered to anyone who can provide information that results in the safe return of the stolen violin. Officials declined to disclose Friday who, or what organization, is financing the reward. 
[...] 
A Milwaukee police spokesman confirmed Friday that Almond reported the robbers were a man and a woman. Investigators are reviewing security footage and following leads in the case, but no further information was available Friday. 
The theft marks at least the second time the "Lipinski Stradivarius" has disappeared from public view. The violin was built in 1715 in Cremona, Italy, by famed violin craftsman Antonio Stradivari. Its first known owner was the virtuoso Giuseppe Tartini (1692-1770), known to listeners for his "Devil's Trill" Sonata. The instrument has also belonged to Polish violinist Karol Lipinski (1790-1861), whose name has stayed attached to it. In 1962, the Lipinski Stradivarius was sold to Richard Anschuetz, a pianist in New York who spent summers in Milwaukee as a child. Anschuetz purchased it for his wife, the Estonian violinist and child prodigy Evi Liivak, with whom he had performed since the 1940s, according to the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra. The couple performed around the world as a duo until the late 1980s. Once they stopped performing, the Lipinski Stradivarius disappeared from public view for nearly 20 years. The violin had not been heard in public until it was given on loan to Almond in 2008. The current owners, who remain anonymous, have been characterized as people with "strong ties" to Milwaukee.
Milwaukee police held a press conference the day after the theft to discuss the investigation.

March 18, 2013

FBI Announces New Information Regarding the 1990 Isabella Stewart Gardner Theft

FBI composite of paintings stolen from ISGM in 1990
On the 23rd anniversary of the largest art theft, an FBI press release announced: "FBI Provides New Information Regarding the 1990 Isabella Stewart Gardner Theft".

The press release is issued by the FBI Boston office in cooperation with with Boston’s Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum and the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts, released new information about one of the largest property crimes in U.S. history—the art theft:
The FBI believes it has determined where the stolen art was transported in the years after the theft and that it knows the identity of the thieves, Richard DesLauriers, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Boston office, revealed for the first time in the 23-year investigation. “The FBI believes with a high degree of confidence that in the years after the theft, the art was transported to Connecticut and the Philadelphia region, and some of the art was taken to Philadelphia, where it was offered for sale by those responsible for the theft.” DesLauriers added, “With that same confidence, we have identified the thieves, who are members of a criminal organization with a base in the Mid-Atlantic states and New England.” After the attempted sale, which took place approximately a decade ago, the FBI’s knowledge of the art’s whereabouts is limited. 
Information is being sought from those who possess or know the whereabouts of the 13 stolen works of art—including rare paintings by Rembrandt and Vermeer—by publicizing new details about the case and continuing to highlight the $5 million reward for the return of the art. Although the FBI does not know where the art is currently located, the FBI is continuing its search, both in and beyond the Connecticut and Philadelphia areas. “With this announcement, we want to widen the ‘aperture of awareness’ of this crime to the reach the American public and others around the world,” said DesLauriers. 
Anthony Amore, the museum’s chief of security, noted that the reward is for “information that leads directly to the recovery of all of our items in good condition.” He further explained, “You don’t have to hand us the paintings to be eligible for the reward. We hope that through this media campaign, people will see how earnest we are in our attempts to pay this reward and make our institution whole. We simply want to recover our paintings and move forward. Today marks 23 years since the robbery. It’s time for these paintings to come home.” 
“The investigation into the Gardner Museum theft has been an active and aggressive effort, with law enforcement following leads and tracking down potential sources of information around the globe. Over the past three years, I have visited the museum several times, and each time I entered the Dutch Room and saw the empty frames, I was reminded of the enormous impact of this theft. I do remain optimistic that one day soon the paintings will be returned to their rightful place in the Fenway, as Mrs. Gardner intended,” said U.S. Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz. “As we have said in the past, the U.S. Attorney’s Office will consider the possibility of immunity from criminal prosecution for information that leads to the return of the paintings based on the set of facts and circumstances brought to our attention. Our primary goal is, and always has been, to have the paintings returned.” 
To recover stolen items and prosecute art and cultural property crime, the FBI has a specialized Art Crime Team of 14 special agents supported by special trial attorneys. The team investigates theft, fraud, looting, and trafficking across state and international lines, with estimated losses running as high as $6 billion annually. The FBI also runs the National Stolen Art File, a computerized index of stolen art and cultural properties that is used as a reference by law enforcement agencies worldwide. 
The FBI stressed that anyone with information about the artwork may contact the FBI at 1-800-CALL-FBI (1-800-225-5324) or the museum directly or through a third party, said Special Agent Geoffrey Kelly, who is the lead investigator in the case and a member of the Art Crime Team. “In the past, people who realize they are in possession of stolen art have returned the art in a variety of ways, including through third parties, attorneys, and anonymously leaving items in churches or at police stations.” Tips may also be submitted online at https://tips.fbi.gov. 
The publicity campaign announced today includes a dedicated FBI webpage on the Gardner Museum theft, video postings on FBI social media sites, publicity on digital billboards in Philadelphia region, and a podcast. To view and listen to these items, visit the FBI’s new webpage about the theft: www.FBI.gov/gardner.



September 26, 2012

Santa Monica Art Collector offers Million Dollar Reward for Stolen Mondrian plus $500,000 for other paintings

Composition (A) En Rouge Et Blanc
by Piet Mondrian
by Catherine Sezgin, ARCA Blog Editor-in-Chief

Santa Monica is a liberal seaside town -- once nicknamed 'The Republic of Santa Monica' -- offering access to beach and upscale amenities just 30 miles west of downtown Los Angeles.  This community of rent controlled apartments (located south) and multi-million dollar homes (located north) around Montana Avenue attracts homeless people to the parks and families to the good public schools.  Last year James "Whitey" Bulgar, Boston's notorious Irish mobster and one of the FBI's most wanted criminals for almost two decades was found in a rent-controlled apartment just blocks up from the busy retail district known as The Third Street Promenade.  Now one of Santa Monica's residents, a wealthy art collector and bond trader, has offered a substantial reward, including $1,000,000 for the return of his painting by Piet Mondrian, for art stolen from his home in September.

Jeffrey Gundlach, founder of the investment firm DoubleLine Capital, held a press conference September 24 to offer a $1.7 million reward for the fine art paintings and other objects taken in a burglary now being investigated by Santa Monica police ("Reward offered by L. A. bond guru adds to intrigue over art theft", Los Angeles Times, September 24, 2012).

"Green Target" by Jasper Johns
Gundlach is offering $1 million for the "undamaged return" (or information leading to) of a picture by Piet MOndrian and another $500,000 for the "successful return undamaged" of "Green Target" by Jasper Johns and two box constructions by Joseph Cornell  ("Bond trader offers $1.7-million reward for stolen art collection"LA Now, Los Angeles Times).  At the brief press conference, Gundlach said "no comment" regarding questions about whether or not the 13 pieces of fine art were insured and or any  details about the burglary or the investigation.  In this article, the LA Times showed images and identification provided by the owner of ten of the 13 stolen artworks: "The Cathedral Tours", 1916, by Guy Rose; "Glory of Autumn", 1930, a California landscape by William Wendt; "Untitled", 1958, abstract by Franz Kline; "Number 14," 1949, by Bradley Walker Tomlin; "The Desert Ramparts", 1920, an oil painting by Hanson Duvall Puthuff; "Green Target", 1956, by Jasper Johns; "Composition (A) En Rouge Et Blanc", 1936, by Piet Mondrian; "Medici Boy", 1946, a wood box construction by Joseph Cornell; and "Painting", 1950, by Philip Guston.

Here's a link to the online Santa Monica Patch which also identifies stolen paintings by Frank Stella and Cy Twombly. 

According to a September 19 press release issued by the Santa Monica Police Department:
On September 14, 2012, officers responded to a residence located in the 500 block of 12th Street on the report of a residential burglary that had occurred sometime between September 12th at 3 p.m. and September 14th at 8 p.m. 
"Cathedral Tours" by Guy Rose, 1916
The victim had just returned home from a trip and discovered that his residence had been burglarized.  Numerous high-end paintings and two wooden box art pieces had been stolen from various rooms throughout the home.  Also stolen was the victim's 2010 red Porsche Carrera 4S, which was parked in the garage, several expensive watches, wine and a small amount of U. S. currency. The estimated loss at this time is believed to be in excess of 10 million dollars.  Preliminarily, the the estimated loss is between 20 and 39 million dollars.
Here's a link to the images of the items reported stolen; Sergeant Richard Lewis is the contact person for the police department (richard.lewis@smgov.net).  Although the LA Times (in the above referenced article) names stolen art work as by Jasper Johns, Piet Mondrian and Richard Diebenkorn, the Santa Monica Police department does not identify the artwork by title or artist.  A search through the FBI's National Stolen Art File Search did not show any stolen paintings by either of the three artists.

Here's a link to a 12-minute video discussion between the Los Angeles Times business section journalist and former FBI agent Robert K. Whittman (.  Business reporter Stuart Pfeiffer asks Whittman if it is more likely that the only 'buyers' the art thieves will find for the stolen fine art are undercover law enforcement.

September 19, 2012

Private insurer offers up to $50,000 reward for information leading to the return of a Renoir painting stolen from a Texas residence last year; FBI adds "Madeleine Leaning on Her Elbow with Flowers in Her Hair" to Top 10 Art Crimes

Today the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) issued a press release adding a stolen Renoir painting, "Madeleine Leaning on Her Elbow with Flowers in Her Hair", to its list of Top 10 Art Crimes and advertising a reward for up to $50,000 to be paid by a private insurer for information leading to the picture's recovery. The 1918 painting by Pierre-Auguste Renoir was stolen on September 8, 2011. According to the FBI:
The homeowner was watching television when she heard a loud noise downstairs. When she went to investigate, she was confronted by an armed man in a ski mask. ...The painting was taken with its frame intact from the stairwell where it hung. The masked robber, who forced entry through the back door of the home, is described as a white male, 18 to 26 years old, who weighs about 160 pounds and is approximately 5’-10” tall. He was armed with a large-caliber, semi-automatic handgun.
According to Anita Hassan reporting for The Houston Chronicle, the thief entered the home and demanded money and diamonds but the owner, protective of her sleeping son upstairs, offered her painting by Renoir as the most valuable monetary asset available.

The original reward was announced at $25,000, according to information released by The Art Loss Register who reported that the Houston Police Department and the FBI were working on the investigation. The FBI estimates that the stolen painting is worth $1 million. The private insurer is not identified. The painting's image has also been included in databases for The Art Loss Register (accessible for a fee) and Interpol (free access to registered users).

Stolen Renoir paintings

In addition to the Texan "Madeleine Leaning on Her Elbow", Interpol's Stolen Art Database identifies 18 Renoir paintings as stolen and still missing since 1938.  The paintings have been stolen from places in Switzerland, France, Argentina, Germany, the United States, Japan, and Italy.

In mid-June 2012, $21 million worth of artwork, including a painting by Renoir and ten drawings by Picasso, were stolen from a businessman in a violent assault in Olomouc in the Czech Republic.

Recovered Renoir paintings

A Renoir stolen from Rome in 1984 re-appeared in Venice in 2009 just months after another Renoir painting stolen from Milan 33 years earlier had also been recovered.

An international law enforcement operation recovered Renoir's "Young Parisian" in Los Angeles and Rembrandt's "Self Portrait" in Copenhagen in 2005.  The two pictures, along with another Renoir, were stolen from the Swedish National Museum in Stockholm in 2000 when thieves used machine guns, tire spikes, and diversionary car bombs to penetrate the museum's security. Stockholm County Police had recovered Renoir's "Conversation" four years earlier in July of 2001.