Friday, October 05, 2007

$65 Million "Ten Most Wanted" Painting Recovered

Last year, when Reluctant Burglar (book one in my To Catch a Thief series) released, Leonardo da Vinci's "Madonna with the Yarnwinder" was among the stolen art featured in my Stealth and Wealth contest. "Madonna" has been listed among the FBI's Ten Most Wanted missing pieces for the past four years, but now it can be removed from the roster.

Officers in Glasgow, Scottland, raided an address where the theives were meeting for apparent negotiations about a sale for the painting. Three Englishman and a Scott have been arrested. The lead investigator in the case credits cooperation between Scottish police, national crime agencies and the public with the successful recovery.

According to the Art Loss Register, the da Vinci is valued at $65 million dollars. So why did the thieves hang onto the painting since the August 2003 theft?

As is true of many art thefts, conducting a sale for high profile art on the black market is a gazillion times harder than the actual grab--something would-be art snatchers should think about before they pull a heist. In this case, the thieves posed as tourists and overpowered a tour guide to escape with the painting from Scotland's Drumlanrig Castle, but then they've had to sit on the multi-million dollar loot every since. How frustrating is that! For them, anyway. But good for the patient, methodical work of the law enforcement team.

On a sad note, the recovery comes a month after the death of the painting's owner, the Duke of Buccleuch. His son inherits the title, the castle, and one of the finest private art collections in Britain. Now "Madonna with the Yarnwinder" returns home to that collection.

1 comment:

Audra said...

I was just coming to your site to see if you'd heard about it lol. You were the first person I thought of. :)