Showing posts with label robbery. Show all posts
Showing posts with label robbery. Show all posts

November 12, 2012

Pretoria Art Museum in South Africa robbed

"Street Scene" by Gerard Sekoto was one of the paintings stolen
 from the Pretoria Art Museum
 (City of  Tishwane, Courtesy of The Los Angeles Times' website)
by Catherine Sezgin, ARCA Blog Editor

Three men paid admission to the Pretoria Art Museum, checked to see that the art gallery was empty, then pointed a gun at a museum employee and used a list to steal six paintings worth 15 million South African Rands on Sunday morning -- although one of the paintings was abandoned when it did not fit into the getaway car, a silver Toyota Avante.


Robyn Dixon for The Los Angeles Times identified the painting left behind on the sidewalk as "Two Malay Musicians" by Irma Stern, valued at $1.5 million, the most valuable work taken from the museum.  

"It's particularly distressing to see the increased use of violence in the commission of art crimes," said Chris Marinello, director of the Art Loss Register.  "Let's face it, very few museum security measures can stand up to an armed group of criminals.  The last thing we want to see is airport- like security at museums around the world but it does look like we're approaching that solution.  It's a sad commentary on society."

The museum's closed-circuit television system was not working -- a problem was reported on Thursday, according to a spokesman for the municipality.  The museum's CCTV was repaired Monday morning, Dixon reported.

Found this posted on Art Insure's Facebook Page
The five stolen paintings included work by Irma Stern, Gerard Sekoto, Maggie Laubser, JH Pierneef, and Hugo Naude.

Jon Gambrell of the Associate Press reported from Johannesburg that the stolen art is valued at $2 million in US dollars:
The robbers favored oil paintings in their theft, grabbing a 1931 painting by famous South African artist Irma Stern of brightly colored sailboats waiting against a pier, city spokesman Pieter de Necker said. Other works stolen included a gouache drawing of an eland and bird by South African landscape artist J.H. Pierneef, a pastel-toned street scene by Gerard Sekoto, a thick-stroked oil painting of a chief by Hugo Naude and a picture of a cat near a vase full of petunias by Maggie Laubser.

October 2, 2012

California State Mining and Mineral Museum Closed for Repairs After Robbery; Inventory to Determine Value of Theft

Tourists often overlook Mariposa on their way to Yosemite Valley, but last week the small historic town in Northern California created headlines last week when thieves reportedly stole millions of dollars of gold from the California State Mining and Mineral Museum located on the Mariposa County Fairgrounds.

The museum, operated by the California Department of Parks and Recreation, issued a press release October 1 informing the public that the institution celebrating the 19th century Gold Rush will be closed "for repairs following the robbery" and that an inventory would determine the number and value of the items stolen.
In the robbery, a number of display cases, doors and other items were damaged by the approximately two suspects who entered the museum and stole an undetermined amount of precious minerals.  It is the goal of State Parks to make the repairs quickly in order to reopen the museum to the public as soon as possible. 
There were two State Parks' employees at the museum at the time of the robbery.  Neither was injured and while both remain shaken from the experience, both report they are doing fine. 
An inventory of the stolen items will be getting underway this week.  Until it is completed, State Parks will not have a listing of what was taken or the dollar amount of the items.
Jim Ballinger, Editor of the Mariposa (Weekly) Gazette, reported September 27 that the museum had been robbed by 4 o'clock Friday afternoon.  According to witnesses cited by Ballinger, two men wearing black clothing and night vision goggles and armed with pick-axes 'herded park rangers to one  area of the museum and headed into the vault' but the alarm sounded, the vault door began to close and the men were denied entry.  Law enforcement arrived 'within minutes' but the suspects escaped.

ABC News' reported that evening (here's a link to the video) and its source for the theft of millions of dollars was from a concerned board member of the museum, although the reporter, Rick Montanez, noted that the museum's treasure, the Fricot "Nugget" had not been stolen.  The Fricot "Nugget" is a 13.8 crystallized gold specimen found in the American River in 1864.

Friday night, almost six hours after the theft, Jacob Rayburn for The Fresno Bee also quoted a California State Parks spokesman that an estimated $2 million worth of gold nuggets and precious gems had been stolen.

Diana Marcum for The Los Angeles Times reported the day after the theft that up to $2 million in gold and gems may have been taken from the museum, but also noted that the Fricot Nugget was still in its iron safe in a vaulted room.  Ms. Marcum also reports that until recently the collection had been planned for storage until it was discovered that the Parks Department had $54 million it had not reported to budget officials.

The collection of more than 13,000 objects relating to the mining of gold and rare minerals in California began in 1880 and moved from San Francisco to Mariposa in 1983.  The museum became a state park in 1999.

The lead agency for this investigation is the Central Division Investigative Services Unit (ISU) of the California Highway Patrol.