Culture crime news 11–17 May 2020


Hot this week: Soapy papyrus scandal at Oxford

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A Virtual Homecoming for Lost Treasures (Nigeria, UK)
(15 May 2020; The Wall Street Journal)


Thompson, el arqueólogo que saqueó 30 mil piezas de Chichén Itzá (Thompson, the archaeologist who looed 30 thousand pieces from Chichén Itzá; Mexico)
(11 May 2020; México Desconocido)

Nómadas del Desierto piden vigilancia para la Sierra del Sarnoso (Nomads of the Desert call for vigilance in the Sierra del Sarnoso; Mexico)
(13 May 2020; Milenio)

New Hampshire mother and son in art fraud case want $250 million (USA)
(13 May 2020; Manchester Ink Link)

The Painting Behind the Door (USA)
(14 May 2020; Tablet)

Convicted art fraudster Ezra Chowaiki subject of yet more legal drama (USA, Spain)
(15 May 2020; The Art Newspaper)

David Toren, Who Fought to Recover Nazi-Looted Art, Dies at 94 (USA)
(30 April 2020; The New York Times)

Man who spent his life hunting down stolen Nazi art dies from COVID-19 (USA)
(17 May 2020; The Jerusalem Post)


How retired hedge fund manager Chris Levett started a museum (France)
(16 May 2020; The Times)

Authorities Recover 19,000 Artifacts in International Antiquities Trafficking Sting (General)
(8 May 2020; Smithsonian)

Vincent Van Gogh theft — the lessons learned (Netherlands)
(12 May 2020; Insurance Business)

Moncayo, ‘zona cero’ del expolio arqueológico (Moncayo, “Ground Zero” of archaeological pillage; Spain)
(10 May 2020; El País)

British-run art restoration group behind efforts to bring copy of stolen Velazquez painting home from London museum (Spain, UK)
(11 May 2020; The Olive Press)

As looting slows, counterfeit antiquities are on the rise (UK, Bahrain)
(6 May 2020; The National)

British Museum intercepts Mesopotamian fakes (UK, Bahrain)
(7 May 2020; Dawn)

CRIME FILES: Prolific church raider ends up behind bars (UK)
(10 May 2020; Malvern Gazette)

A Mystery at Oxford (UK, USA)
(1 June 2020; The Atlantic)

Keep an eye on historic sites on daily walk, ask police (UK)
(8 May 2020; County Echo)

Vandals damage one of Wales’ most famous Roman ruins (UK)
(15 May 2020; Wales Online)


Preminghana petroglyph: Aboriginal leader slams wait for rock carving return (Australia)
(13 May 2020; Port News)

South and East Asia

No progress in university’s ‘missing coin’ case (India)
(13 May 2020; The Hitavada)

Artefacts stolen from Pangkor Gallery (Malaysia)
(13 May 2020; The Star)

West and Central Asia

500-year-old handwritten Bibles seized near Turkey-Greece border (Turkey, Greece)
(12 May 2020; Daily Sabah)

In Other News

‘Night At The Museum’: Police Looking For Man Who Took Selfies With Dinosaur After Alleged Break-In (Australia)
(15 May 2020; 10 Daily)

New rules for Devon dino hunters (UK)
(17 May 2020; Radio EXE)

Are ghosts haunting the British Museum? (UK)
(1 June 2020; 1843 Magazine)