Suspects Claim FBI Art Crimes Chief 'Ordered' Museum Theft

  • November 27, 2011 19:57

  • Email
Sisley's Lane of Poplars at Moret.

Seven people on trial for stealing works by Monet, Sisley and Brueghel from a French museum say that the crime was instigated by Robert K. Wittman, the FBI's well-known art detective.

The 2007 heist from Nice's Musée des Beaux Arts yielded the gun-toting thieves four paintings -- Breughels' Allegory of Water and Allegory of Earth along with Alfred Sisley's Avenue of Poplars at Moret and Claude Monet's Cliffs Near Dieppe. Estimated at 22 million euros, the works would fetch only a fraction of that amount on the black market.

Facing 30 years in prison for armed robbery, the men said they acted on a comment from Wittman who was trying to flush out the perpetrators of the unsolved 1990 Gardner Museum heist. Missing from the Boston museum are works by Vermeer, Rembrandt, and Degas, worth about $500 million.

Wittman was working undercover when he met with a Miami-based contact, "Sunny" Ternus, who claimed he knew of the whereabouts of the stolen Gardner paintings.

The suspects' lawyer said that his clients were amateurs who were motivated to do the crime in order to fulfill Wittman's supposed wish for "Dutch paintings" as told to Ternus during a Miami yacht party staged by the FBI.

"These canvasses disappeared in order to recover two key paintings belonging to US heritage. I'm not sure that the US would appreciate it if French agents acted likewise," said the gang's lawyer. He accuses Wittman of "police provocation" and wants the charges dropped.

 

Read more at Telegraph


  • Email

More News Feed Headlines

Mark Dion and Dana Sherwood, Sketch for the Pollinator Pavillion.  Courtesy of the Thomas Cole National Historic Site.

Ahead: ARTFIXdaily Closed Week of August 9; The Pollinator Pavilion Opens at Thomas Cole Site

  • ArtfixDaily / August 6th, 2020

ARTFIXdaily e-newsletter service will be closed next week and will resume on August 17. This Friday, August 7, the ...

Read More...
Philadelphia Museum of Art

New Round of Layoffs Hit U.S. Museums; Philadelphia Museum of Art Workers Vote to Unionize

  • ArtfixDaily / August 6th, 2020

After months of coronavirus impacts have battered museums' finances, art institutions across the U.S. have announced ...

Read More...
Tony Castro with Alpha Castro removing door molding to discover original decoration at Cumston Hall, Monmouth, Maine.

Got Old House? A Live Stream Symposium Will Cover Historic Painted Wall Conservation

  • ArtfixDaily / August 6th, 2020

"Conserving Our Painted Past" Live Stream Symposium Oct. 26-28, 2020, 1:00 pm-4:30 pm REGISTRATION NOW OPEN AT ...

Read More...
Counter for Cutting Cloak Material, 1850s.  Church Family, Mount Lebanon, NY Pine, maple pulls, brass tacks, red paint Accession Number: 1950.382.1

Shaker Museum Taps Selldorf Architects for New $15 Million Facility

  • ArtfixDaily / August 5th, 2020

Shaker Museum has selected Selldorf Architects to create its new permanent facility in downtown Chatham, New York, to ...

Read More...

Related Events

Goto Calendar

ARTFIXdaily Artwire