Culture crime news 24–30 August 2020


Hot this week: Museums in a changing world

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How Does a Thief Unload Stolen Art? Here Are 5 Ways Criminals Actually Profit From Museum Heists
(24 August 2020; ArtNet News)


Q&A: Racial Justice and Restitution (Benin)
(26 August 2020; Open Society Foundations)

The Long Fight for Restitution (General)
(28 August 2020; Condé Nast Traveler)

Desconocimiento y falta de interés por la conservación ha provocado la destrucción de sitios arqueológicos en Chiapas (Ignorance and lack of interest in conservation has led to the destruction of archaeological sites in Chiapas; Mexico)
(23 August 2020; Chiapas Paralelo)

Sudan’s Jabal Maragha: Illegal gold diggers destroy ancient site (Sudan)
(24 August 2020; BBC News)


Island RCMP discover painting stolen in 2018 through unrelated investigation (Canada)
(28 August 2020; CTV)

Toronto cops on hunt for stolen 500 pound sculpture (Canada)
(28 August 2020; Toronto Sun)

Se robaron una campana en iglesia de Tulancingo (A bell stolen from the Tulancingo church; Mexico)
(28 August 2020; El Sol de Tulancingo)

A Museum Director Asks: What if Art Museums Can’t Measure Up to the Present Moment? (USA)
(26 August 2020; Hyperallergic)

In weighing fate of Pittsburgh’s Columbus statue, first a disagreement over who decides (USA)
(26 August 2020; Public Source)

Tribal nations are decolonizing cultural protection (USA)
(27 August 2020; High Country News)

Driven to Abstraction: the inside story of a $60m art forgery hoax (USA)
(28 August 2020; The Guardian)

The Whitney Museum Pillaging Black Art Is Nothing New (USA)
(28 August 2020; Vice)


Stolen ancient vase on its way back home (Cyprus, UK)
(25 August 2020; Cyprus Mail)

Banksy’s The Sad Young Girl: How the theft of a tribute to Bataclan terror victims has ended with the arrest of a luxury designer (France)
(28 August 2020; INews)

German art dealer and socialite, 38, is arrested in Lisbon and faces being extradited to UK over ‘£1m sale of Yayoi Kusama pumpkin that buyer never received’ (Germany, Portugal)
(24 August 2020; The Daily Mail)

Creative Protest for the Return of the Parthenon Marbles Held at the British Museum (Greece, UK)
(28 August 2020; Greek Reporter)

Serbia Has Returned Only One of 1248 Cultural Artifacts Stolen from Kosovo (Kosovo, Serbia)
(24 August 2020; Exit News)

Frans Hals Dutch masterpiece stolen for third time (Netherlands)
(27 August 2020; BBC News)

Treble Dutch: £13m old master painting stolen for a third time (Netherlands)
(27 August 2020; The Guardian)

Erik el Belga, el ladrón que pasó de largo de El Greco (Erik the Belgan, the thief that passed by an El Greco; Spain)
(26 August 2020; El País)

Museums are the guardians of our memories — but they are fighting to survive (UK)
(24 August 2020; INews)

Vandals sprayed graffiti on 13th century wall at Codnor Castle (UK)
(24 August 2020; Ripley & Heanor News)

Gloucestershire burglar who raided Wiltshire mansion jailed (UK)
(26 August 2020; Wilts and Clocestershite Standard)

The British Museum Reopens to a World That Has Changed (UK)
(27 August 2020; The New York Times)

Black Lives Matter, Benin Bronzes and Britishness: how can UK museums decolonise? (UK, Nigeria)
(27 August 2020; Museums and Heritage Advisor)

Call police if you are offered bronze sculpture stolen from art gallery in Tunbridge Well (UK)
(28 August 2020; Kent Online)

Campaign raises £2,000 after gravestone stolen and churchyard desecrated in St Michael’s on Wyre (UK)
(25 August 2020; The Gazette)

St Luke’s Church roof vandalised by metal thieves (UK)
(27 August 2020; The Charlton Champion)

South and East Asia

Ganesha idol stolen from Andhra temple on Vinayaka Chavithi (India)
(24 August 2020; The News Minute)

Customs officials seize 25 antiques worth Rs 35.3 crore in north Bengal (India, Bangladesh)
(27 August 2020; Hindustan Times)

Presidential Secretariat hands over artifacts from Netherlands to National Museum (Indonesia, Netherlands)
(27 August 2020; The Jakarta Post)

Ancestral Ainu Remains Returned by Tokyo University (Japan)
(28 August 2020; Unseen Japan)

Douglas A.J. Latchford, Khmer Antiquities Expert, Dies at 88 (Thailand, Cambodia)
(27 August 2020; The New York Times)

West and Central Asia

Police bust gang trading historical objects online (Iran)
(26 August 2020; Tehran Times)

Is Iraq Getting Screwed in a Looted Treasures Deal with the Hobby Lobby? (Iraq, USA)
(27 August 2020; The Daily Beast)

The Louvre, UNESCO, and Other Cultural Organizations Unite to Provide $5 Million in `Cultural First Aid’ to Beirut (Lebanon, France)
(24 August 2020; ArtNet News)

Ibrahim Hakkı Konyalı: Art historian who saved Ottoman heritage (Turkey)
(26 August 2020; Daily Sabah)