Entries in Stolen (3)


Roman Artifacts Targeted by Tourists as Take-Home Gifts

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(ROME) -- Italian authorities say that tourists are loving their visit to Rome so much, they’re trying to take a bit of the city back home with them.

According to The Telegraph, security at the capital’s Fiumicino and Ciampino airports say their staffs have noticed an increase in cobblestones and other artifacts showing up in fliers’ luggage during X-ray screenings.

“The phenomenon is definitely on the increase,” said Antonio del Grego, head of Fiumicino’s frontier police. “The airport police and security are on the alert.”

Though some media reports said the pieces looked more like the modern-day cobblestones now mostly made in China, del Grego said that was not the case.

“Most of the cobblestones we found are the handmade ones from the 1900s,” del Grego told ABC News Monday. “They are not the newer ones.”

In addition to the blocks, tourists have also reportedly tried to transport volcanic rock, ancient Roman mosaics and milestone.

“Some of the bits of archaeological pieces could be from the Colosseum, we think, but it is hard to identify from where they were taken from,” del Grego said.

The frontier police head said that an expert had confirmed that a mosaic uncovered in a person’s baggage had come from an archaeological site at Ostia Antica, an ancient Roman port.

In the last six months, 10 people have been denounced for theft. Del Grego said that none of the people stopped had been American.

“Many of them are people from northern Europe of a certain age,” he said. “It is hard because we have to prove that these items are stolen and as the value of the stolen good is of little value and we often don’t know where it comes from, this is difficult.”

Del Grego told the Telegraph that those found with stones or other artifacts were not arrested. They are cautioned and the artifacts are returned to the city.

“More than the judicial proceeding, what we hope will put people off is the shame they will feel when they are discovered,” he said. “Then along with the shame, some even miss their flights.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Stolen Masterpiece Discovered, Returned to France After 90+ Years

US ICE(WASHINGTON) -- Missing for more than 90 years, the “Fisherman’s Daughter” is finally on her way home to France.

The Jules Breton painting was stolen from the Douai Beaux Art Museum in Northern France by German troops during the First World War and its fate was a mystery that haunted the art world for nearly a century.

Then last year, there was a break in the case. French officials and Interpol were alerted that the painting, valued today at about $150,000, had been imported by an art dealer in New York. The painting was recovered, but the mystery was not yet solved. Officials discovered the painting had been heavily restored, leading them to question the artwork's authenticity.

Art experts, curators and historians from France and the United States were called in to examine the painting and investigate its long and clandestine history. After a close examination of records and documentation, both in the United States and in France, and visits to museums and key witnesses, the story of the painting emerged.

It was indeed the same painting stolen from the Douai museum in 1918 -- the authentic “Fisherman’s Daughter.”

It was discovered that during the German occupation of the northern part of the country. German troops confiscated artwork from the Douai Beaux Art Museum and sent the artwork to Mons, Belgium, and then to Brussels.

In 1919, the Belgian government organized the return of the French collection to France. However, “Fisherman’s Daughter” was not among the works.

No one is certain, but apparently the painting was stolen from the Belgian government prior to the collection being returned to France.

No one knows what happened to the painting after that, except for the fact that it was professionally restored. The painting was apparently in private hands recently, then turned up being imported to an art dealer in New York last year.

Thursday, U.S. officials returned the masterpiece to the French people at a ceremony in Washington attended by the French ambassador, ending the nearly century-long art mystery.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Stolen Degas Painting Returned to France After 37 Years

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Thirty-seven years after a laundress in a white veil disappeared from her home in northwest France, U.S. authorities discovered her at a New York City auction house, and Friday officially returned her to her rightful owners.

The woman in question is not a real person, but the subject of a 6.5-by-8.5 inch painting by French impressionist Edgar Degas that had been heisted from a Normandy art museum in 1973.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement investigators discovered the masterpiece in a Sotheby's catalogue in October. Later, markings on the bank confirmed a link to the Louvre in Paris.

At the French Embassy residence in Washington Friday, U.S. and French officials formally signed documents transferring ownership of the painting.

Although only valued at an estimated $350,000 to $450,000, the work is particularly prized by the French, given the relative paucity of Degas paintings remaining within their national borders, officials said.

The recovery was also hailed as an example of international collaboration to combat the illicit trafficking of high-value cultural property.

Morton said no suspects are in custody in conjunction with the theft and declined to comment on specifics of the ongoing investigation. In the U.S., art thieves and illicit traffickers of cultural property can face up to 20 years in prison if caught and convicted.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio