Search for the World's Most Wanted Art
2005's Most Wanted Art

This is a journalistic inquiry by  Saz Productions, Inc. to acquire information for a television  & new media production.  In the process we hope to publicize lost art and offer assistance towards its recovery.  Collectors, journalists, researchers, police, and others with questions or contributions e-mail 

*June 2005
Reward for Munch masterpiece recovery 

Vol de peintures à Paris

USA: Indian museum burglarized

Police close in on £20m Caravaggio

Goya's "Cannibal Count" recovered in Montenegro

Dutch Painting Stolen

Nine items stolen from Istanbul museum (burglary and theft depot)

Roumanie : Vol de « la Prière » de Brancusi

Chilean Student Confesses to Rodin Theft

Argentina: Hallazgo millonario

*May 2005
Italy: Police recover stolen paintings

Nizza: recuperate dai carabinieri opere d'arte per 1 milione e mezzo di euro

Seven stolen works of art, including a piece by Pablo Picasso, have been recovered in Italy.

Un Chagall, un Magritte et un Léger volés en 2001 ont été retrouvés

Painting worth R2.5 million stolen from SABC property

The 10 Most Faked Artists


FBI finds majority of artifacts stolen in January from the Cabazon Cultural Museum in Indio

Australia: Bug man accused of $1m museum thefts

*April 2005

Stolen Picasso found at drug lord's house

Recuperate dai Carabinieri 5 tele rubate

Spainish police arrest 16 art traffickers


* March
UK: Arrests over £30m antiques theft

Recovery of two paintings stolen from church in Palermo

Bari - Recuperate opere d'arte rubate

PERSONE ARRESTATE. 18 stolen paintings recovered, two arrested

Renoir painting stolen from Paris auction houseTajan

Finland: Desaparición de 30 grabados de Goya/ Disappearance of 30 engravings of Goya

* February 2005 -
It was a relatively quiet month (just past) on the art theft beat.  Three sculptures and various works by Salvador Dali were stolen from a museum in Amberes
, Belgium.  Next, it was disclosed that the print "Geishas" owned (and later depicted) by Vincent Van Gogh, was one of three unreported (1981) thefts at London's Courtauld Institute. Two watercolors - Edward Dayes's Somerset House from the Thames and Samuel Palmer's Trefriew Mill also disappeared. For details see the Art Newspaper

For good cocktail party conversation, twenty (20) time-pieces from the late Marshal Tito's watch and clock collection were stolen from a Belgrade Museum of Yugoslavian History.  How's that for esoteric?

As for recoveries (the positive side of this odd ledger) it was a pretty fair month.  Here in the States, the Death Valley theft ring
was taken down; breaking  up a major theft ring and recovery of more than 11,000 American Indian artifacts.  Elsewhere in the wild-west, a Montana museum employee helps stop 35-year crime spree.

Next in Kentucky, Transylvania University'
s recent rare book robbery was solved.  Suspects have been arrested, for the violent January crime.  Rare books including Darwin's Origin of the Species have been recovered.

As for antiquities, Guatemalan police recovered 393 pieces of stolen Pre-Colombian art
and Greek police seized an ancient 'treasure trove'.  So it goes....

Our thanks to organizers of the Nation Conference on Cultural Property Protection (Smithsonian Institution)
for their hospitality.  They provided a valuable opportunity to meet with members of the FBI's new "Art Crime Team".  The United States now joins other other nations in devoting resources to police the often crime filled (theft & fraud) world of art and antiques.   

* January 2005 -
Tracking the world's great art crimes, we began with a major art theft in Holland.  The Westfries Museum was struck by thieves.  The haul included 17th century paintings by Jan van Goyen, Jacob Waben, Matthias Withoos, Jan Rietschoof, Jan Linsen , Herman Henstenburg and a silver collection.  For details (in Dutch) see the Westfries Museum

Next, IFAR has received an IMLS grant to develop an Art Law Website. For details on this impressive initiative see IFAR

Artifacts valued at more than $100,000 that were stolen from the Cabazon Band of Mission Indians Cultural Museum.  The missing Hopi, Pueblo and Zuni in artifacts consist of baskets and pottery.

On a more positive note, there was an arrest in Norway's much publicized Munch Museum Heist.  The defendant claims to have an alibi, so well all have to see what happens.  Also of note, Norwegian press accounts that the paintings were severely damaged by the thieves.

Continuing in this world review, a couple of museum thefts were reported in Asia.  First a rare 5th century sandstone head of Buddha
was stolen from an Indian museum.  Next, Korea's National Museum discovered that a statue had been missing from display for the past two years.

In the Americas, 60 million years old Dinosaur egg were stolen from a museum in Valcheta Argentina (story in Spanish
).  Here in the US, Native American materials seem to have been a favorite of thieves this past month.  Near Barstow California, the Daggett Museum (in the Mojave Desert) was robbed. Also, in Taos, NM a rare Zuni Katchina was stolen from the Millicent Rogers Museum.  For picture see ATADA.

Some good news to report, a treasure trove of stolen paintings were recovered in New England.  Behind a false wall in a bar, police found loot taken from some recent noted Cape Code burglaries see Boston Globe
.  Also, an art scam involving forgery (and possible theft) was uncovered in Los Angeles.

Jonathan Sazonoff

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