Art Theft and the FBI

The recent theft of five paintings from a Dutch art museum has me intrigued. One of the first things that came to my mind was the many movies that have dealt with art theft. To Catch a Thief with Cary Grant and Grace Kelly was a classic, and one of my favorites. Then there are the Pink Panther movies, as well as numerous others. I will never cease to be amazed at the value of some art.

These seven paintings included a Picasso, two Monets, and a Gauguin are estimated to have been worth more than 65 million dollars. There has been a lot of discussion about the lack of adequate security at not only this museum but perhaps at most museums. I don’t know if that is true or not. I suspect if there were 65 million dollars in gold sitting on a table, that there would be a lot of security in place. An unfortunate statistic that I read was that less than 20 percent of stolen art is recovered. As I reviewed the internet I read about an organization within the FBI that is tasked with recovering stolen art, the Art Crime Team.   

The Art Crime Team was established in 2004, comprised of 14 special agents dedicated to recovery of art theft. They have recovered more than 2,600 items of art including paintings, artifacts, and ancient maps. I have no idea what is involved in their work but I am intrigued. I have no idea what training or education is required but it sounds interesting and rewarding. I love documentaries, and if there is ever an hour episode covering this department within the FBI, I would be interested in watching it.

Few things are cherished and valued within cultures as much as their art. Art is indeed true treasure. I wanted to highlight this point when I created Treasure Trove, so I included the following situation card with the game.

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