Culture crime news 25 December 2017–6 January 2018


Hot this week: New Year, same old art crime

Receive ‘Culture crime news’ as a weekly newsletter! Sign up here

You can search the full Culture Crime News media database at


When Does an Artist’s Appropriation Become Copyright Infringement?
(28 December 2017; Artlyst)

Atomic methods: How to get insight into archeology and identify art forgery
(28 December 2017; Energy Bangla)

Do we still need UNESCO?
(2 January 2018; Apollo)


Bid to smuggle collectibles of Mohamed Ali family, King Farouq foiled (Egypt, UAE)
(25 December 2017; Egypt Today)

329 Smuggled Ancient Coins Seized in Cairo Airport En Route to France (Egypt, France)
(26 December 2017; Albawaba)

Egyptian prosecutors launch investigation into theft from Agricultural Museum (Egypt)
(28 December 2017; Ahram Online)

Antiquities smugglers to face up to life imprisonment: Amendment (Egypt)
(3 January 2018; Egypt Today)

Ancient Egyptian Mummy’s Skull and Dismembered Hands to be Returned to Egypt 90 Years After Being Taken to the U.S. (Egypt, USA)
(3 January 2018; Newsweek)

Lost artifact: Stealing of Nigeria’s history, identity (Nigeria)
(28 December 2017; New Telegraph)

Using technology to tackle theft and trafficking of antiquities (Nigeria)
(28 December 2017; Nigerian Tribune)

Nigeria Demands Unconditional Return Of Looted Artefacts: A Season Of Miracles? (Nigeria)
(31 December 2017; Modern Ghana)

Ugandan tourism ministry hails China’s “fantastic” ivory trade ban (Uganda, China)
(4 January 2018; Xinhua)


Ancient Indigenous arrowhead discovered at Fort York, turned over to city 80 years later (Canada)
(1 January 2018; The Star)

Bail hearing delayed for man accused in Montreal art thefts (Canada)
(3 January 2018; Montreal Gazette)

Stolen statues probe turns to Interpol (Mexico)
(28 December 2017; Mexico News Daily)

Woman accused of stealing $32K worth of space artifacts, selling them for $5K (USA)
(20 December 2017; KPRC)

The studio burned, but its painters are emerging from the ashes in Northeast D.C. (USA)
(25 December 2017; The Washington Post)

Stolen Hans Hofmann Paintings Recovered — Scandalous Inside Job Exposed (USA)
(26 December 2017; Artlyst)

Got The Scoop On The Gardner Museum Art Heist? You Have 4 Days To Earn $10 Million (USA)
(27 December 2017; NPR)

Giant Mural of Phallus on the Lower East Side Pricks Locals (USA)
(28 December 2017; Hyperallergic)

The Richmond monument that was hacked down, stolen and shot 400 times (USA)
(28 December 2017; WTVR)

A Woman Allegedly Got Drunk On A First Date And Destroyed Her Date’s Fine Art, Including Two Warhol Paintings (USA)
(29 December 2017; Buzz Feed)

The mystery remains on how the $160M painting got to a bedroom in Cliff (USA)
(3 January 2018; Silver City Sun-News)

Map experts in Clear Lake helped Christie’s auction house expose forgery (USA)
(3 January 2018; The Houston Chronicle)

Consignment of 1877 Inness Landscape Inspires Suit (USA)
(4 January 2018; Courthouse News)

Looted Antiques Seized From Billionaire’s Home, Prosecutors Say (USA)
(5 January 2018; The New York Times)


Two men arrested after drugs, ancient artefacts found in Paphos (Cyprus)
(6 January 2018; Cyprus Mail)

Did Paris Overpay $103 Million for the Building That Will House François Pinault’s Art? (France)
(3 January 2018; ArtNet News)

Artists Build a Holocaust Memorial Beside Far-Right German Politician’s House (Germany)
(27 December 2017; Hyperallergic)

Thieves Steal Qatari Jewels in Brazen Theft at Ducal Palace in Venice (Italy, UAE, India)
(3 January 2018; The New York Times)

Dutch experts doubt authenticity of rare ‘Hitler’ painting (Netherlands)
(28 December 2017; The Japan Times)

Two Belgians accused of stealing from Auschwitz acquitted by a court in Poland (Poland, Belgium)
(31 December 2017; Maria Nova)

Van containing 1830s Johnson’s dictionaries stolen in Norwich (UK)
(27 December 2017; BBC News)

Theft of silverware and records from Whitton church was `attack on community’ (UK)
(31 December 2017; East Anglian Daily Times)

Whodunnit? Russell-Cotes Museum wants you to help find out at new crime exhibition (UK)
(1 January 2018; Daily Echo)

Thieves leave well-known artwork badly damaged after break-in at North-east castle’s cafe (UK)
(5 January 2018; Evening Express)


Steam train inoperable after thieves target Canberra Railway Museum in Kingston (Australia)
(29 December 2017; The Canberra Times)

What’s in the museum that Apple wants to demolish in Melbourne? (Australia)
(4 January 2018; Gippsland Times)

Votualevu Mandir Installs CCTV Cameras, Burglar Bars (Fiji)
(4 January 2018; Fiji Sun)

A Maori at the British Museum (New Zealand, UK)
(19 December 2017; The Spinoff)

South and East Asia

Quran theft: Court seeks fresh status report from CBI (India)
(17 December 2017; The Tribune)

Idol theft anger at cops (India)
(29 December 2017; The Telegraph)

Safety tags in museums (India)
(29 December 2017; The Telegraph)

19 cases of theft of antiquities reported in 3 years: Govt (India)
(1 January 2018; The New Indian Express)

यति स्थान मंदिर से मूर्ति की चोरी (India)
(3 January 2018; Jagran)

5.75kg gold stolen from idol, police begin investigation (India)
(3 January 2018; The Times of India)

HC warns of CBI probe over pending idol thefts (India)
(5 January 2018; News Today)

Theft in Digamber Jain Temple in Debari (India)
(5 January 2018; Udaipur Times)

Stolen idols in the U.S. must be brought back: art enthusiasts (India, USA)
(6 January 2018; The Hindu)

PIL questions shifting of ancient idols to ‘icon centres’ (India)
(7 January 2018; The Hindu)

RM10k Sleeping Buddha idol stolen while devotees pray (Malaysia)
(21 December 2017; The Sun Daily)

Home isn’t where the art is (Nepal)
(16 December 2017; The Kathmandu Post)

50 ancient idols, statues of deities restored (Nepal)
(5 January 2018; The Himalayan Times)

Gov’t seeks to toughen up laws to address art forgery (South Korea)
(26 December 2017; Yonhap News Agency)

Temples in Taiwan upgrading security after thieves steal deities, try to mail them to China (Taiwan, China)
(12 December 2017; Taiwan News)

West Asia

‘We were just hunting porcupines,’ claims antiquities robber (Israel)
(13 December 2017; The Times of Israel)

West and Central Asia

Minnesota monk Columba Stewart rescues ancient manuscripts from modern threats (Syria, USA, Mali)
(7 January 2018; Star Tribune)

44 ancient artifacts returned to Turkey in past year, culture minister says (Turkey, UK, Switzerland)
(25 December 2017; Daily Sabah)

Turkey requests France return tiles stolen from Sultan Selim II’s tomb at Hagia Sophia (Turkey, France)
(26 December 2017; Daily Sabah)

In Other News

‘World’s most expensive vodka’ stolen from Copenhagen collection (Denmark)
(3 January 2018; The Local)

‘World’s most expensive vodka’ found on Danish building site (Denmark)
(5 January 2018; BBC News)

The Top Ten Most Important Ancient Documents Lost to History (General)
(1 January 2018; Smithsonian)

Dinosaur footprint damaged, fossils from Jurassic era lying scattered (India)
(22 December 2017; The Times of India)

Kashmir heritage: Tale of a mammoth loss (India)
(5 January 2018; Greater Kashmir)

Utah Elementary School Fires Art Teacher for Showing Students `Pornographic’ Paintings (USA)
(2 January 2018; ArtNet News)