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An unknown Italian man identifying himself as a retired art thief has contacted the police in the northern city of Piacenza demanding €150,000 ($163,000) for the safe return of a Gustav Klimt painting.

According to Der Standard, the demand was made several days ago.

The artwork disappeared from the Galleria d'Arte Moderna Piacenza in February 1997 while the alarm system was incapacitated due to ongoing renovation work.

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Two decades after stealing antiquities from a first-century Jewish city in the Golan Heights, on the borders of Israel and Syria, a robber returned the loot to a museum's courtyard, Israeli authorities announced.

The returned artifacts included two 2,000-year-old sling stones, also called ballista balls, which would've been used as weapons, and an anonymous typed noted saying, "These are two Roman ballista balls from Gamla, from a residential quarter at the foot of the summit.

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A thief who stole £800,000 worth of rare Imperial Russian court Fabergé objects and jewelery from Christie's Auctioneers last December, has gone on trial in London. Richard Tobin, 45, a Glaswegian confessed to the theft from the west end auction house. 

Southwark Crown Court were told that there is still no sign of the missing items. Jack Talbot the suspect's defence lawyer added: "He accepts he took the items. It may be part of the mitigation that he did not know their value." Judge Owen Davies explained to the defendant : "What happened to the property is uppermost in the court's mind. "The court does not have time to consider carefully your case so you will be appearing via video link on April 8. "You will be remanded in custody and you face a long prison sentence."

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Yesterday it was reported that a bronze sculpture by Medardo Rosso had been stolen from Rome's Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Moderna. In a bizarre turn of events, the sculpture has subsequently been found, in the museum, inside a storage locker for public use near the entrance.

The news was first reported by "Corriere della Sera," which informed that the artwork—a rare masterpiece by Rosso, entitled "Bambino Malato" (1893-95)—was located by the police yesterday afternoon.

Investigators claim that the lockers had been carefully inspected after the theft took place last Friday afternoon. So they are working with the hypothesis that the thief had a change of heart and returned the sculpture at a later time.

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An unknown thief or group of thieves stole Pablo Picasso's "Visage aux Mains (Face with Hands)" (1956) from the Amsterdam-based Leslie Smith Gallery's booth at Art Miami, the "Miami Herald" reports. The work is a 16.5 inch in diameter silver plate and is believed to have been snatched sometime after 10:30pm on Thursday night. Police have classified the heist as grand theft.

Gallery owner David Smith discovered that the plate was missing from its holder upon arriving to Art Miami on Friday morning around 10:45am.

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Neither his wife nor his children knew of the terrible secret eating away at the Frenchman who stole a Rembrandt and kept it hidden in his bedroom for a decade and a half.

But when Patrick Vialaneix turned up at a police station a free man to confess his secret, he surely knew his life was about to spectacularly unravel.

Far from freeing himself from the pernicious influence of the Child with a Soap Bubble, Mr Vialaneix is embroiled in a legal and emotional web that could take years to resolve.

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Tuesday, 03 June 2014 10:09

New York Art Dealer Robbed by Employee

A high-end art dealer was robbed at knifepoint in his Upper East Side pad by a handyman who took off with some cash — but left a showroom full of pricey artwork on the walls, officials said.

Paul Quatrochi, whose stable of wealthy collectors includes Penthouse publisher Bob Guccione, Baron Heinrich von Thyssen and Austrian Princess Michaela von Hapsburg, said he had a knife pressed against his throat for nearly 30 minutes while his guest rifled through his pockets and stole $300 in cash.

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The presumed mastermind of a brazen art theft from a French Riviera museum involving four paintings by Monet, Sisley and Breughel denied any role as he went on trial on Monday.

The Miami-based Bernard Ternus, who is in his sixties, was sentenced in the United States to five years in prison in 2008 over the theft at Nice's Jules Cheret museum a year earlier.

Transferred to France last year after serving his sentence, Ternus -- who is being held in custody -- told the court in Aix-en-Provence in southern France that he had been framed.

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On Sunday, July 28, 2013, a gunman sneaked into the posh Carlton Intercontinental hotel in Cannes, France, held up a diamond show and made off on foot with $136 million worth of jewels. It was the biggest heist to take place in Cannes, a notorious hot spot for the rich and famous, in years.

Current investigations show that the suspect acted alone and wore a scarf, hat and gloves to disguise his identity. The thief entered through the hotel’s ground floor showroom, held up some of the show’s staff with a handgun, grabbed the valuables, and exited through a side door that led to a side street. The entire holdup took approximately sixty seconds and occurred while three security guards looked on.

The jewels were on display as part of a presentation highlighting the Leviev diamond house, which is owned by Israeli billionaire Lev Leviev. The show was slated to remain on view at the hotel through the end of August. The Carlton, a Cannes landmark, was famously featured in Alfred Hitchcock’s To Catch a Thief starring Grace Kelly and Cary Grant. The hotel is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year.

Investigations are still underway and French authorities are currently reviewing surveillance video footage.

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Sometime after 1994, a former employee of Sweden’s National Library stole approximately 56 rare antique books once belonging to the country’s royal family. The thief, Anders Burius, eventually confessed to the theft, consigned the objects to the German auction house, Ketterer Kunst, and subsequently committed suicide.

In 1998, investigators were able to track 13 of the stolen volumes from Ketterer Kunst to the U.S. where Stephan Loewentheil, a Baltimore-based book dealer, bought two of the volumes, unaware that they were stolen. On Wednesday, July 24, 2013, the FBI were finally able to return the objects to the Swedish government, whereby officials honored Loewentheil for his assistance in recovering the books.

The recovered books include a 19th century German volume about the Mississippi River by Henry Lewis and a 17th century French book about the Louisiana territory by Louis Hennepin. The latter features the first published description of Niagara Falls and the first published landscape of the Louisiana Territory.

While Sweden and the National Library are thrilled to have the volumes back, a large portion of the works stolen by Burius are still missing.

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