Tuesday, March 24, 2009

"No one likes to have anything stolen, but when it’s something that’s absorbed as much time, energy & emotion as a painting, it’s especially bad news"

Police in Connecticut discovered 39 paintings that had been stolen from various New Haven venues, including Yale’s Slifka Center and the public library. The paintings were recovered during a weekend drug raid; the art had apparently been traded for bags of heroin. The New Haven Independent says "police expect to arrest the thief later this week." The Hartford Courant has more. The Yale Daily News talks to Noah Charney, who happens to be teaching a course on art crime there this semester:

"Charney said the fact that these stolen works were not big ticket items is notable because most art thefts are of pieces of relatively little monetary value. 'There are hundreds and thousands of art crimes per year,' Charney said. 'It’s good to highlight the extent of the problem and not focus on the really big headline cases.' He said he was not surprised to learn that the artwork had been traded for drugs because he said it is very difficult to sell art for cash. 'It is too dangerous and difficult to get cash for the art that they’ve stolen,' Charney said. 'The safer solution in terms of minimizing arrests is to use stolen art for barter or as collateral with other criminals.'"