Culture crime news 12 November–24 December 2017


Hot this week: hot new antiquities crime unit in NYC

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Life imprisonment, fine of LE 1M for smuggling antiquities (Egypt)
(19 December 2017; Egypt Today)

Art dealers lament losses, demand probe of market fire (Nigeria)
(22 December 2017; Punch)

Curators, scholars charge govt on loot of artefacts (Nigeria)
(11 December 2017; The Nation)

Commission wants unconditional return of stolen works (Nigeria)
(22 December 2017; Vanguard)

Humboldt Forum And Selective Amnesia: Research Instead Of Restitution Of African Artefacts. (Nigeria, Ghana, Germany)
(22 December 2017; Modern Ghana)

Return of stolen artefacts, last stage of Africa’s decolonization – Commission (Nigeria)
(23 December 2017; The News)


Peru recovers 79 pre-Hispanic textiles from Sweden (Peru, Sweden)
(17 December 2017; The Nation)

Iraqi Jewish archive: from 2003 to now, what’s happened (USA, Iraq)
(11 December 2017; Beloit College Round Table)

Brooklyn Soldier’s Lost Purple Heart Given To Manhattan Museum (USA)
(12 December 2017; Patch)

Rare Cortez print stolen in burglary (USA)
(15 December 2017; The Leader-Herald)

$10m reward for stolen Gardner museum artwork set to expire at end of 2017 (USA)
(15 December 2017; The Boston Globe)

Art collector won’t return painting stolen by Nazis: suit (USA)
(16 December 2017; New York Post)

German museum returning objects robbed from Alaskan graves (USA, Germany)
(19 December 2017; KTUU)

Stolen painting of 3 bears playing golf found on Sacramento Craigslist (USA)
(20 December 2017; KCRA)

Should street art be protected? New York’s 5Pointz lawsuit tests the US Visual Artists Rights Act (USA)
(20 December 2017; The Art Newspaper)

Enlisting dogs to sniff out stolen antiquities (USA)
(21 December 2017; Penn Current)

After 12 Years, a Trove of Stolen Hans Hofmann Paintings Has Been Recovered (USA)
(22 December 2017; ArtNet News)

Trump is being sued to stop him from shrinking Bears Ears national monument by 85 percent. Who will win? (USA)
(11 December 2017; The Washington Post)

What Shrinking Fossil-Rich National Monuments Means for Science (USA)
(18 December 2017; Smithsonian)

Ute political action committee to fight for Bears Ears from Park City (USA)
(19 December 2017; Park Record)

Manhattan District Attorney’s Office Returns Three Ancient Statues to Lebanese Republic (USA, Lebanon)
(15 December 2017; Manhattan DA)

Prosecutors become treasure hunters in antiquities repatriation campaign (USA)
(17 December 2017; The Times of Israel)

Art Traffickers Beware: The Manhattan DA Is Deploying a New Unit to Combat NYC’s Antiquities Crime Wave (USA)
(18 December 2017; ArtNet News)

New York art dealer duped clients out of millions, U.S. says (USA)
(16 December 2017; The Frederick News-Post)

Ice Cream Salesman Turned Art Dealer Swindled Elite Clients Out of Millions, Feds Say (USA)
(19 December 2017; ArtNet News)

This Feminist Artist Claims ModCloth Stole Her Design (USA)
(20 December 2017; Nylon)

Katie Thierjung Accuses Marc Jacobs of Copying Her Pin Designs (USA)
(22 December 2017; Teen Vogue)


France saves Marquis de Sade’s 120 Days of Sodom from auction (France)
(18 December 2017; Guardian)

In Reversal, Düsseldorf Will Hold Exhibition About Jewish Dealer (Germany)
(21 December 2017; The New York Times)

German museum reverses plan to cancel show on Montreal gallery owner Max Stern (Germany)
(22 December 2017; Montreal Gazette)

Stolen, found – an Old Master nativity with a colourful past (Ireland)
(16 December 2017; The Irish Times)

Case over non-return of ancient icons to Russia sent back to prosecutors (Russia, USA)
(11 December 2017; RAPSI)

Scuffles break out as artworks removed from Catalan city’s museum (Spain)
(11 December 2017; The Guardian)

‘Pandora’, operación contra el expolio (‘Pandora’: operation against looting; Spain)
(11 December 2017; Diario de León)

Los piratas de la arqueología se instalan en internet (Archaeological pirates are set up on the internet; Spain)
(17 December 2017; La Vanguardia)

Burglars SMASH through gallery door and steal expensive sculptures (UK)
(11 December 2017; Somerset Live)

The tense truce between detectorists and archaeologists (UK)
(18 December 2017; The Guardian)


Ancient Aboriginal sites left vulnerable, showing why cultural preservation is necessary in Australia (Australia)
(21 December 2017; ABC Australia)

Victoria Cross medal thief Ronnie Van Wakeren granted parole (New Zealand)
(19 December 2017; New Zealand Herald)

Heavy, 10-metre ‘waka train’ mural vanishes (New Zealand)
(22 December 2017; Radio New Zealand)

South and East Asia

Sunken ancient Chinese treasure returns home (China, Indonesia)
(11 December 2017; Xinhua)

Overseas Chinese help recover looted relics from abroad (China)
(17 December 2017; ECNS)

पीरो के तारा मंदिर से गहने चुराये व मूर्ति तोड़ी, रोड पर उतरे लोग (Jewellery stolen and idol broken in Tara temple in Piro; India)
(11 December 2017; Live Hindustan)

200 साल पुराने मंदिर से चोरी गई श्रीराम जानकी की मूर्तियां गन्ने के खेत में मिलीं (Idols stolen from 200-year-old temple found in sugarcane field; India)
(11 December 2017; Live Hindustan)

Auction of Chandigarh’s heritage furniture Continues unabated: Chairs sold for over Rs 20 lakh in New York (India)
(14 December 2017; The Indian Express)

Jayanagar temple theft leaves cops baffled, clueless (India)
(21 December 2017; The New Indian Express)

Bullets fly as cops bust Buddha robbers at Bombing Handan festival (Taiwan)
(21 December 2017; Taiwan News)

West and Central Asia

ISIS Threatened Ancient Art. 3-D Printing Will Save It. (Iraq, Syria)
(21 December 2017; Daily Beast)

Turkey, UAE in row over Ottoman pasha (Turkey, UAE)
(20 December 2017; Hurriyet Daily News)

500-year-old Syrian rug seized in anti-smuggling op in Ankara (Turkey, Syria)
(20 December 2017; Daily Sabah)

Achilles’ sword, Alexander bust among record Turkish police haul of 26,456 ancient artifacts (Turkey)
(21 December 2017; Daily Sabah)

In Other News

Ivory sales in China finally end this month. But elephants aren’t yet safe. (China)
(14 December 2017; The Washington Post)

Why it’s time to talk seriously about digital reproductions (General)
(19 December 2017; Apollo)

Mind your pickaxe: What to do when you encounter fossils and artifacts in the wild (General)
(23 December 2017; Popular Science)

Outcry over Polish government’s changes to Second World War museum (Poland)
(21 December 2017; The Art Newspaper)

Art Historian Finds Missing Monet Painting Through a Google Search (UK, USA)
(21 December 2017; Hyperallergic)

Memphis Takes Down Two Confederate Monuments, Including Statue of KKK Leader (USA)
(22 December 2017; Hyperallergic)