Culture crime news 27 June–3 July 2016


Hot this week: Uncertainty, uncertainty, uncertainty.

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


Egyptian Embassy in Paris Retrieves Stolen Artefact (Egypt, France)
(30 June 2016; All Africa)
The piece was returned by the auction house Millon after it was confirmed that it came from the Sakkara archaeological site.

Robbers strike close to PMB family’s heart (South Africa)
(28 June 2016; News 24)
A 112-year-old brass lamp and other items were stolen from a Hindu family shrine


Homer Watson reproduction stolen from Waterloo library (Canada)
(28 June 2016; CTV)
The copy of Ice Break on the Grand River belonged to the Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery

Japanese-Canadians’ stolen history brought to light (Canada)
(29 June 2016; Times Colonist)
In the 40s the Canadian government seized and sold the property of Japanese-Canadians, now it is being searched for.

Jehovah’s Witnesses accused of destroying ancient religious site in Mexico (Mexico)
(29 June 2016; Vice)
The Otomí site called Mayonikha has been desecrated; a local academic says nearby Jehovah’s Witnesses have confessed to the destruction.

Jehovah’s Witnesses deny desecrating site (Mexico)
(1 July 2016; Mexico News Daily)
The church has said that reports that their members desecrated an Otomí site are “false and misleading”

Unique sculpture mysteriously missing from Albuquerque art gallery (USA)
(26 June 2016; KRQE News)
The artist wonders if the subject matter, two men about to kiss, caused someone to steal it because they felt it was controversial.

$2K Mural on East River Waterfront Stolen Days After it Was Unveiled (USA)
(27 June 2016; DNA Info)
The banner was attached by double braises steel ties but was taken anyway.

Two arrested after art theft attempt at airport (USA)
(28 June 2016; Spotlight News)
The two men arrested for the attempted theft were at the airport to pick up a colleague.

As search for missing Union Station benches continues, Springfield officials contact Putnam Academy, hoping students can rebuild them (USA)
(29 June 2016; Mass Live)
The 40 antique benches from the historic rail station still have not turned up.

Uniform, military medals of late WWII POW stolen from his family in Fort Worth (USA)
(29 June 2016; The Dallas Morning News)
The medals and uniform were stolen from a storage unit.

ART: Thieves walk off with gallery paintings (USA)
(29 June 2016; The News Guard)
The works by Kay Klose were taken from a Lincoln City, Oregon gallery

Former police officer pleads guilty to stealing painting from Governor’s Mansion (USA)
(29 June 2016; Wisconsin State Journal)
The ex police officer stole it from storage

40 years later, search continues for Rockwell painting stolen from New Jersey home (USA)
(30 June 2016; Philly Voice)
The FBI hasn’t forgotten that the painting, stolen in 1976, is still missing.

Man Returns Thomas Kinkade Jesus Statue After Stealing It 2 Years Ago, Asks for Forgiveness (USA)
(30 June 2016; Christian Post)
The anonymous person took the piece from a gallery in Zionsville, Indiana.

AIA Members Speak in Favor of Continued Protection of Artifacts from Bolivia and Greece (USA, Bolivia, Greece)
(30 June 2016; Archaeological Institute of America)
A review of the recent The US State Dept Cultural Property Advisory Committee Meeting by Nathan Elkins

Dive company focus of SBI criminal probe (USA)
(1 July 2016; Carteret County News-Times)
The dive company says that they’ve done nothing wrong and are open to being investigated.

Gustav Klimt’s Adele Bloch-Bauer Paintings to Be Reunited at Neue Galerie (USA)
(30 June 2016; ArtNet News)
“Gustav Klimt`s two portraits of Adele Bloch-Bauer were part of one of the biggest Nazi-looted art restitution cases in history.”

This ‘Holocaust hustler’ makes a living off of Nazi-stolen art (USA)
(2 July 2016; New York Post)
A take down article of James Palmer of Mondex Corp.

Our View: Keep pressure up to restore artifacts (USA)
(26 June 2016; Santa Fe New Mexican)
“Pressure needs to continue so that foreign governments ensure that relics and tribal artifacts are returned.”

Heinrich readies bill to help protect tribes’ cultural artifacts (USA)
(2 July 2016; Santa Fe New Mexican)
The Senator from New Mexico plans to introduce a bill into congress called “The Safeguard Tribal Objects of Patrimony Act of 2016”


What Germany’s tough new law could mean for the antiquities market (Germany)
(27 June 2016; The Art Newspaper)
One sector’s unease about the law is another sector’s joy. Laws regulating the illicit trade aren’t meant to make potential illicit traders happy.

Bavaria Sold Nazi Looted Art Back to Nazis: Report (Germany)
(28 June 2016; Observer)
“The German state failed utterly to restitute stolen art works in many cases”

Art Experts Blast Bavarian Museums’ Attempt to Rebut Nazi Loot Claims (Germany)
(29 June 2016; ArtNet News)
‘The Bayerische Staatsgemälde-Sammlungen (Bavarian State Collections) responded with a lengthy, detailed statement calling the claims “false”‘

German Museum Repurchases 19th-Century Painting Stolen by Nazis (Germany)
(30 June 2016; JP Updates)
The 1832 painting, “Blick auf das Kloster Sta. Scolastica bei Subiaco”, was found liable for restitution in 2014.

The $3 Billion Family Art Feud (Greece)
(1 July 2016; Wall Street Journal)
The ongoing Goulandris Collection battle

Hoax? Rome firm claims new Modigliani but offers no evidence (Italy)
(18 June 2016; KRQE News)
Doubts from the Amedeo Modigliani Institute that the flea market find is authentic.

Italian Consumer Group Files Complaint Against Christo’s ‘Floating Piers’ (Italy)
(27 June 2016; ArtNet News)
“They consider the installation a waste of public money.”

Spanish Supreme Court Rules Against Dalí Foundation in Image Rights Dispute (Spain)
(30 June 2016; ArtNet News)
“The court ruled that the artist’s image rights died with him.”

Detienen a presuntos autores del robo de las coronas de la Virgen de la Cabeza (Assumed robbers of the crown of the Virgen de la Cabeza arrested; Spain)
(30 June 2016; CLM24)
The crowns were stolen from the church of San Juan Bautista in Puertollano.

Metal detectorist who struck gold with Bronze Age ring during illegal search is fined after touting it to a museum (UK)
(27 June 2016; The Telegraph)
The man has been a detectorist for 11 years and knew what he was doing was wrong.

Painting worth thousands stolen from cottage (UK)
(28 June 2016; ITV News)
The painting, Hope in Prison by Sir Edward Coley, was once of several things taken from the Sussex property.

‘Heartless’ burglars smash up church with sledgehammers (UK)
(29 June 2016; Leigh Journal)
They cut a Victorian lectrn to pieces and pulled 20th century wood paneling from the walls as well as smashed furniture and icons.

Welcome home party for Devon church’s priceless panels (UK)
(29 June 2016; The Herald)
The pieces were stolen from Holy Trinity Church, Torbryan in 2013 and have since been recovered and reinstalled.

Fire That Destroyed Liverpool Biennial Site Was an Arson Attack (UK)
(29 June 2016; ArtNet News)
“Mark Leckey, a Turner Prize-winning artist, had planned to screen his autobiographical film, Dream English Kid, at the site.”

To Cite or to Steal? When a Scholarly Project Turns Up in a Gallery (UK)
(30 June 2016; Hyperallergic)
Are Jason Shulman’s much lauded works lifted from Kevin L. Furguson?

Vandalised Belfast war memorial to be rededicated during Somme service (UK)
(30 June 2016; Belfast Telegraph)
“The European Great War Memorial in Woodvale Park in the Shankill area was attacked in May”

South and East Asia

Deenadayalan’s aide held, 9 more idols seized (India)
(27 June 2016; The Hindu)
The man is being named as simply Lakshmi alias Lakshminarayanan.

5-star hotel employee held for temple theft (India)
(29 June 2016; The Times of India)
The man was arrested for stealing jewellery from an idol in a temple in New Friends Colony.

HC to hear plea on irregularities in National Art Gallery (India)
(30 June 2016; The Hindu)
Allegations that the NGMA isn’t being run properly and objects are at risk of being stolen.

Ancient Burmese Buddhist site at risk from botched restoration (Myanmar)
(27 June 2016; Apollo)
“`Inept and unsupervised’ restoration efforts pose threat to Burmese heritage site”

16 heritage sites facing extinction (Nepal)
(26 June 2016; The Himalayan Times)
Even before the earthquake these sites were under threat. The Department of Archaeology is giving equal priority to other major sites.

Pakistan’s Vanishing History (Pakistan)
(2 July 2016; The Diplomat)
Destruction and looting: threats to Gandhara culture remains.

West and Central Asia

Prized Lion of Babylon joins list of crumbling Iraqi antiquities (Iraq)
(30 June 2016; Al-Monitor)
Focusing on destruction by tourists and negligence.

The politics and poetry of restoring war ruins (Syria)
(29 June 2016; Gulf News)
Continued controversy over the idea of rebuilding.

In Other News

Self-proclaimed ‘Australia’s worst artist’ hangs his own painting in the National Gallery of Victoria (Australia)
(1 July 2016; The Sydney Morning Herald)
“In Self-Fulfilment, the artist decides to install his own painting into the National Gallery of Victoria, bringing gasps of delight to the viewing public.”

Man pleads not guilty to murder of Oxford book dealer (UK)
(1 July 2016; The Guardian)
Dealer Adrian Greenwood was found stabbed in his home in April

Ford dealership uses art from Firewatch for ad — without permission, of course (USA)
(28 June 2016; ZAM)
It is quite clear that the art used by a local car dealership advert was stolen from a video game.

‘That’s our alien!’ Owner recognizes ‘sexy alien beast’ abducted in theft (USA)
(1 July 2016; Komo News)
An abducted alien returns home.

Saugerties street art vandalized (USA)
(1 July 2016; Saugerties Times)
What kind of monster would vandalize “Bathorse”, which is exactly what it sounds like?