Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Hermitage Theft Attempt (UPDATED)

Someone smashed a glass display case and tried to steal an antique silver ladle from the Hermitage Museum late last week. According to a Reuters report: "'He first tried to break the glass with his elbow, and then his knee,' the Hermitage said in a statement. The museum's electronic security systems were triggered and the man was detained by guards and museum staff, the statement said." As the story points out,

"the Hermitage is still reeling from the disappearance of [221] silverware items that emerged in August. The theft of the items is believed to have happened over several years but was only discovered when staff carried out an audit of one of the vast museum's vaults. Larisa Zavadskaya, the curator of the section where the thefts were found, died suddenly at work when the audit began. Zavadskaya's husband has been charged with theft."

UPDATE: Lee Rosenbaum catches the Hermitage director criticizing journalists for their role in the attempted theft ("The more people write about how you can make off with everything in the Hermitage, the more you are going to get unhinged people trying to steal things"). Says Lee:

"This a case of blaming the messenger. Publicizing evident security problems---like the recent Hermitage theft scandal ... is not irresponsibly divulging security secrets; it's exposing glaring lapses, in the hope of spurring needed action to correct them."