Museum Thefts In The Netherlands Criminology Essay

Chapter 5


In the work conducted by Peek “ Theft in museums in the Netherlands – facts and figures to back up aggregation hazard direction ” ( Peek, 2011 ) the interviewed experts shared the sentiment that a museum in the Netherlands is likely to see an norm of one or two larceny incidents per twelvemonth. In comparing to what is announced in the media, this per centum seems instead high ( Peek, 2011, 8 ) .

Harmonizing to the experts ‘ sentiment stated above, it can be expected that a sum of 1000 to 2000 larcenies occur per twelvemonth.[ 1 ]This survey examines 17 museum larceny incidents that happened in a period of 12 old ages and were announced in the media, either entirely on a local or on local and international degree. In comparing to the expected figure of larcenies this figure seems likely highly low. However, as it was besides stated supra, merely a little figure of larcenies is announced in the media ( Peek, 2011, 8 ) .

The decisions from this little graduated table research which are based on past incidents will be compared to the hazard scenarios and the anticipations of the experts as described in the research conducted by Peek ( 2011 ) . On one manus, this is a really little per centum in comparing to the entire incidents of larcenies and the consequence might non give a representative position on the larcenies that happen in the Netherlands. On the other manus, this comparing might give some indicants on under what fortunes a larceny is more likely to happen and it can therefore represent the first measure towards a more systematic attack of the museum larcenies in the Netherlands.

Probability of museum larcenies harmonizing to different factors

Type of larceny: There are eight different types of larceny identified in the research. Burglary is described as a “ forced entry by foreigners into a edifice for the intent of perpetrating an offense ” . Unauthorized entree, during which entree to the museum or invasion is non acquired by force. Introvertish occurs when the culprits enter the edifice during gap hours and manage to remain indoors until after closing. Internal larcenies, which refer to a state of affairs in which the culprits are people who have entree to the aggregations, such as museum staff or voluntaries.[ 2 ]Opportunist larceny is committed by persons who grab the chance to steal and object and is an unpremeditated act. Armed robbery is “ a premeditated act that involves force and fright ” . Hit and run is “ a bold entry and action ” followed by a speedy flight in order to avoid acquiring caught. Mutely planned refers to a larceny which happens during gap hours and requires careful planning and several preparatory visits. The chance that these types of larcenies might happen can be defined as “ high ” which means 1 or 2 larcenies per museum per twelvemonth, “ medium ” , which is translated to one incident per two or five old ages and “ low ” if it refers to less than one incident every five old ages. Internal larcenies along with timeserving larcenies are considered to be the most likely. Burglary is of medium chance, while introvertish and armed robbery are among the least likely to happen ( Peek, 2011, 2 ) .

Types of objects at hazard: The research identifies different classs of stolen objects. Such as old pictures, cherished stuff, arms, coins, books and archives. For the intents of this survey the classs will be somewhat modified as it will be shown subsequently. In general the experts assume that the higher the pecuniary value of an object is the most likely is it that a premeditated larceny will happen. It is besides stated that timeserving stealers tend to steal little objects, books or archival stuff, while in focussed and planned larcenies the objects that are being targeted are those with high fiscal value. Last but non least, cherished stuffs and coins are considered to be one of the primary marks since they can be easy melted and sold as natural stuff ( Peek, 2011, 3 ) .

Location: There are several types of locations indicated in Peek ‘s research. Namely, these are exhibition infinites, storage infinites, public countries with aggregations, preservation rooms/offices/laboratories. Furthermore, besides during the conveyance or at a lading dock larcenies can happen. Harmonizing to the experts, the most likely combinations sing type of larceny and location are internal larceny from storage, armed robbery during conveyance and burglary in exhibition ( ibid ) .

Time of twenty-four hours: Larcenies during the weekend are the most likely to happen harmonizing to the experts and particularly in the instance of burglary the possibility to happen during a weekend dark is considered more likely than during weekday dark. On the other manus, timeserving larcenies are more possible to happen during opening hours.

Motivation: In this work, different types of motivations were examined. However, since most of the museum larcenies described in this survey were non solved, it is non possible to do a comparing between the possible and the existent motivations.[ 3 ]

Recovery: Last but non least, in Peek ‘s research the chance of recovery was examined. Harmonizing to the interviewed, the chance of recovery was described as moderate, although it seems that this besides depends on the sort of the stolen objects and on whether the objects were insured or non. It is believed that insured objects are more possible to be recovered since insurance companies sometimes pay tip money in order to recover information for the larceny or because the stealers might inquire for ransom. ( Old ) Paintings and works on paper are besides more possible to be recovered since they are normally better registered than books and archival stuffs. On the other manus, cherished stuffs have really low possibility of recovery since they can be melted or transformed.

Comparison between likely factors and informations

Type of larceny: Burglary occurs more frequently than any type of larceny, with 13 incidents out of 17. There was merely one ‘hit and run ‘ larceny reported, one instance of ‘armed robbery ‘ and one instance of ‘shut-in ‘ . Sing ‘internal larceny ‘ and ‘opportunistic larceny ‘ which were regarded by the experts as more likely to happen, there was merely one incident of ‘internal larceny ‘ reported and no incident of ‘opportunistic larceny ‘ . This does non intend that this type of larceny does non really occur, but it instead means that it goes unreported or possibly even unnoticed. One instance of internal larceny happened in the Army museum in Delft and it took about seven old ages before it was revealed that the conservator was stealing stuff from the library and even pictures. Opportunist larcenies on the other manus might even travel unnoticed. An declarative illustration, besides mentioned earlier, is the loss of many netsuke objects that have been stolen from the storage suites of the ethnology museum in Leiden when the entree to the storage suites was allowed to a batch of people ( Intr. 15 ) .[ 4 ]

Figure 4: Type of larceny

Types of stolen objects: For the intents of this research the classs of stolen objects have been somewhat modified and are the undermentioned: pictures ( with no differentiation such as old or new ) , cherished stuffs ( which includes cherished metals, treasures and jewellery. Silverware is besides included in this class ) , books and archives, sculptures and other ( which includes objects such as redstem storksbills or rhino horns ) . The classs of coins and arms have been omitted since no objects of this type have been stolen during these larcenies.

In some instances more than one type of objects was stolen during a larceny. For illustration from the Westfries museum both pictures and silverware have been stolen. All of the museum larcenies were premeditated and accordingly all of the stolen points were of high pecuniary value, which verifies the sentiment of the experts that in premeditated larcenies objects of high value are stolen. Most of the stolen points were pictures and the 2nd most popular type of objects seems to be silverware. Although there is merely one incident in which bronze statues were stolen from a museum garden, it should be mentioned that in the past few old ages and besides this twelvemonth an addition in larcenies of points made by bronze and other valuable stuffs occurred ( Intr.15 ) . However these points can besides be found in out-of-door infinites such as squares or Parkss and besides in churches and hence are non included in the list of museum larcenies.

Figure 5: Type of stolen objects

Location: All of the points have been stolen from the exhibition infinite, with the lone important exclusion the statues stolen from the Singer Museum in Laren, which were in the garden of the museum. Another exclusion was the larceny of the aeroplane theoretical account from the Deleen Airbase Museum. Besides the instance of the Army Museum in Delft gives an illustration of an exclusion. The points stolen by the conservator originated from different suites in the museum and the merely reported armed robber within the past 12 old ages took topographic point in the exhibition infinite of the Scheringa Museum.

Time of twenty-four hours: From all the larcenies merely two happened during the twenty-four hours and merely one, which was really an armed robbery, during the gap hours. All the others happened during the dark and most of them, which was harmonizing to the experts ‘ outlooks, during the weekend. Most of the larcenies happened the dark from Sunday to Monday, likely because Dutch museums are closed on Monday. More exactly, four larcenies happened in the dark from Sunday to Monday, one larceny in the dark from Saturday to Sunday, two on Friday dark and two were reported to hold happened during the weekend, nevertheless the exact twenty-four hours is non announced. Therefore from a sum of 17 larcenies nine happened during the weekend. The two larcenies that happened during the twenty-four hours were besides committed during the weekend.

Figure 6: Time of twenty-four hours

Recovery: From the 17 museum larcenies, merely in two instances – which are besides the instances that will be discussed in the undermentioned chapter – the points have been recovered and in three other instances some but non all of the stolen points have been recovered. This means that the chance of recovery is instead low and non moderate. Of class there is ever the chance that some of the points and particularly the pictures might resurface in the legal market after a period of 20 old ages since this is the restriction of art larceny in the Netherlands. Sing the objects made of cherished metals, the outlooks of experts that the recovery of the stolen points is improbable were confirmed. An illustration is the larceny from the Singer Museum in Laren, where merely one of the seven statues was recovered badly damaged.

Figure 7: Recovery

To sum up, from all types of larcenies discussed in this survey and reviewed literature, burglary remains the most popular one. Hit and run type of larceny does non happen frequently but might be organized in ways that can non be predicted even by experts. The Gouda museum larceny was organized in such manner. The stealers used explosives in order to open the museum door and this is something that was ne’er reported before in the Netherlands ( new wave Pel, n. d. ) . Additionally, attending should be paid to internal larceny which is supposed- and experience shows that it likely is ( Tijhuis, 2009, 46 ) – to be one of the most common types of larcenies. However internal larceny is among the signifiers of larceny that are most hard to observe and hence non many incidents are reported. In respect to the types of stolen objects, pictures are the most popular objects when a burglary happens, although they are hard to be sold since they are most of the times good registered. In the recent old ages there is besides an alarming addition of larcenies of bronze or Ag objects due to the high monetary values of natural stuffs. In these instances the artefact is non merely stolen but is besides destroyed in order to be sold as a natural stuff and therefore is gone everlastingly.

Most of the larcenies have taken topographic point in the exhibition topographic point, at dark and during the weekend. Besides, in one of the interviews it was mentioned that about “ half of all the burglaries take topographic point at higher degrees of the edifice ” ( Intr. 13 ) . It is so true that from the sum of 12 burglaries in at least four a ladder was used. Besides utile information in order to understand the modus operandi of the felons is the figure of culprits. However most of the times this information is either non available for the populace or non known ; because even if the CCTV shows a certain figure of people, it does non turn out that there are no other people, either inside the museum or outside, waiting. With respect to the modus operandi it can be argued that the more luxuriant a rip-off is the more likely it is to be associated with experient and good equipped condemnable organisations ( Siegel, 2008, 95 ) . Although in the instances of Dutch museum larcenies further researched is required, in some instances there are indicants of the professionalism of the stealers, such as for illustration in the Museon larceny or the larceny from Scheringa Museum, particularly if compared with larcenies such as those from Singer Museum or even Van Gogh which seem to be instead gawky and the stealers left a batch of hints behind.

In the subdivisions that follow the instances of the Frans Hals Museum and the Hofje new wave Aerden larcenies will be discussed, because these instances are the lone solved instances of museum larcenies during the past 12 old ages in which the artefacts were recovered and the culprits have been caught. Therefore, the available empirical informations and the information sing these larcenies are more than those available for the other instances.

The Frans Hals Museum

“ A window was smashed at the top degree of the museum. About half of all museum larcenies take topographic point at higher degrees of the edifice. ” ( Intr.13 )

The Frans Hals Museum is situated in Haarlem and has the largest aggregation of pictures by Frans Hals in the universe.[ 5 ]On exhibition are besides works by Hals ‘ predecessors and coevalss, furniture, ceramics, glass and Ag.[ 6 ]

It was 26th of March 2002, Sunday to Monday dark when stealers entered the museum nailing a window on the top degree and stole five pictures. The robbery was speedy and the stealers managed to get away with the five pictures, go forthing a 6th one buttocks. The pictures stolen were The Quack and The Happy Drinker, by Adriaan new wave Ostade, another canvas, besides entitled The Quack, by Jan Steen, The Musicians, by Cornelis Bega, and Drinking Bout, by Cornelis Dusart, whereas one of these pictures was on loan from the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam ( “ Dutch Paintings Worth ?2m Stolen, 2002 ) .

The instance of the larceny from the Frans Hals Museum is one of the really few instances that the pictures have been recovered and the suspects have been arrested, even though it took six old ages and an operation with an clandestine constabulary officer.

“ Most of the clip they call the museum or they call a attorney who is contact with the museum and they say: Listen we are in the ownership of a twosome of pictures and possibly you want to purchase it from us. And most of clip the insurance companies and the constabulary and the museum they make a program to acquire them back. Sometimes they pay for it and sometimes they catch the culprits every bit good. Depends on what ‘s the narrative of class. ” ( Intr.6 )

In the instance of the Frans Hals Museum the people who were in the ownership of the pictures made contact in order to inquire money for the pictures.

“ And so there were the intelligence looking about and at one minute possibly they catch the stealers or the people who have it. And at that minute they had the pictures. aˆ¦And all the pictures have been recovered. ” ( Intr.6 )

Harmonizing to the interviewed, it is non really likely that those people were the same who committed the larceny.

“ Well you ne’er know if they are stealers. They had the pictures but they ne’er say that they are the stealers. That ‘s the job, if you say the stealer gave it to me and so you contact the constabulary or the insurance company cipher can turn out that you have stolen them. I have merely the pictures and I can offer them to the museum. aˆ¦ I do n’t believe they did it, because they were drug felons. ” ( Intr.6 )

However, the motive of the stealers is non known nor is it known if the initial motive of the fencings was to inquire ransom for the pictures. It is besides non mentioned in the intelligence or verified from the interviews whether the pictures changed proprietors or the people who got arrested were the 1s who took them from the stealers. In one of the interviews it was mentioned that:

“ I think it was head to export it, I heard in United States, to people who loved art and the diamonds aˆ¦they had the purpose to convey them to United provinces and offer them to people who are non really cognizant of the fact that the pictures are stolen or possibly they ‘d wish to take it to art carnivals to sale it over thereaˆ¦ good I think, it was really hard to take them abroad possibly, because you have to utilize a boat of class and ship, but I think that at one minute they changed it for money or drugs and that came to other people and the other people they had it merely puting on the ceiling and waiting, possibly we can utilize it sometime, exchange it for acquiring lower punishment. ” ( Intr.6 )

The pictures were said to be in ownership of drug felons and harmonizing to one of the sources this is the merely known instance which shows a connexion between drugs and stolen art:

“ It was recovered in 2008 and some felons were convicted and what I know is that those felons were known to the constabulary, it was officially announced in the documents excessively and eh, they were antecedently besides working in drugs. So that ‘s the lone connexion I know about felons making drugs and besides making other, other offenses. ” ( Intr. 16 )

Harmonizing to information announced in the intelligence, the people who got arrested were a male parent and boy and both occupants of Den Bosch, age 23 and 69 severally and a good known attorney ( “ Lawyer Arthur new wave der Biezen Arrested ” , 2008 ) . This is an illustration of the relational ties between histrions. In this instance the most obvious relational ties are the biological relationship between the two histrions and behavioural interaction among the three histrions ( McIllwain, 1999, 305 ) ,

In an article that was posted in the Museum Security Network it was besides mentioned that the clandestine constabulary officer has paid 1.000.000 euro ransom during the operation for the recovery of the pictures. When the people got arrested merely 100,000euro has been found in the house of the male parent and 95,000euro in the chalet of his boy. All the three people have been arrested with the accusal of possessing the stolen pictures and washing the money that they got from the ransom ( ‘Hoger beroep schilderijenzaak, ‘ 2011 ) .

The Hofje new wave Aerden Museum

“ Stolen Art Alert: Armed robbery, Leerdam, the Netherlands

Gunman bargains Isaksz new wave Ruysdael and Frans Hals from Museum het hofje new wave Aerden, Leerdam. ” ( IFAR study, 1988 )[ 7 ]

The Hofje new wave Mevrouw Van Aerden Museum is situated in Leerdam and is an eighteenth century edifice keeping a alone aggregation of seventeenth century pictures.

In 1988, two pictures of Ruysdael and Frans Hals have been stolen from the museum and harmonizing to intelligence articles have been recovered three old ages subsequently after a ransom was paid by the Dutch authorities.[ 8 ]Twenty three old ages subsequently the same pictures have been stolen once more on May 27th 2011, during the dark from Thursday to Friday.[ 9 ]

“ Burglars managed to acquire into the garden of the Hofje, smashed a window with a sleigh cock. A adult female life in the Hofje heard the noise, and even saw the burglars. She alarmed constabularies. Burglars managed to acquire away by mounting down to the river behind the museum garden. ” ( Intr.13 )

The pictures stolen where the “ Two express joying male childs ” by Frans Hals and a Wooded Landscape by Jacob new wave Ruysdael and were recovered a few months subsequently after the constabulary received a tip that led to the people who possessed the pictures. Although the pictures have been recovered and apprehensions have been made, the instance is still under probe. Therefore the constabulary was up to day of the month non allowed to give any farther information beyond that the instance is connected with another larceny of pictures from a private belongings.

“ Six of his pictures were stolen from this aggregation. And during the probe we had some information related to the larceny from the Museum in Leerdam. So things are connected. Be certain about that. But how they are connected we do n’t cognize. ” ( Intr.2 )

Harmonizing to an interviewed expert, this larceny is really linked with the pack that operates in the Netherlands and which was presented in the subdivision of the fencings. The interviewed said that there was an source who made contact on behalf of those who possessed the pictures stolen from this private abode, in order to inquire for ransom. The constabulary trapped the phone of the source and in one of the conversations they heard that the source was besides involved in the Leerdam instance. It was this information that lead to the recovery of the pictures from the Hofje new wave Aerden museum.

“ He is besides friend of ( the foreman of the pack ) , that adult male. German adult male, he lives in Amsterdam and he does entirely stolen pictures. aˆ¦ He is an designer. ” ( Intr. 10 )

Once more, it is non known – or at least non revealed in the intelligence or in the interviews – whether the people who got arrested were the stealers or jobbers and which their motive for the museum larceny was.

However, this instance shows that larcenies from private houses and museums can be connected and, harmonizing to the interviewed expert, it besides shows that this pack really operates in the Netherlands and is involved in instances of stolen art both from museums and from private belongingss

Both of the instances described above are typical, in the sense that in both instances it was a burglary that happened during the dark, one took topographic point during the weekend, and the stolen points were pictures from the exhibition infinite. The fact that in both instances the cured points were pictures might be besides used to back up experts ‘ claims that the chance of retrieving pictures is high particularly in comparing to the recovery of cherished stuffs, which are besides really likely to be stolen but extremely improbable to be recovered.

Modus operandi? ? ? ?

Conclusionsaˆ¦aˆ¦aˆ¦ .

In the first portion of this chapter a general overview of the art offense web in the Netherlands, was provided as an debut to the empirical survey of museum larcenies discussed in the 2nd half of this chapter. The five chief groups ( condemnable and non-criminal ) which constitute the art offense web are the wrongdoers, the purchasers, the victims, the constabulary and the insurance companies. Several other groups of histrions do be, and have been briefly presented, but their function was non exhaustively examined. Each of these five groups can be divided in different sub-groups some of which have been identified in the old subdivisions. Although a figure of relational ties among the histrions of the web were identified and there are indicants on how these groups interact with each other, farther research is needed. The same goes for the designation of the characteristics that can qualify these groups.

In the instance survey of museum thefts the same groups of histrions have been identified along with a figure of activities that these histrions perform. Furthermore, the comparing between the informations gathered during this survey and Peek ‘s research provided an penetration on how the experts ‘ sentiment reflects world. However, farther research and more entree to the available empirical informations are besides needed in this instance, in order to explicate a clearer and more concrete position of the web. Last but non least, the bulk of the information was based on the perceptual experiences of interviewed and therefore it largely provides a position of the web as perceived by the experts. That is non to state that the whole research is based on perceptual experiences and non on facts, nevertheless, as it was besides mentioned in chapter 1, it should be read with a critical eyeprobably besides from the storage infinite. There are no other reported instances, where larcenies occurred during conveyance or objects were stolen from the storage infinites. Furthermore, the comparing between the informations gathered during this survey and Peek ‘s research provided an penetration on how the experts ‘ sentiment reflects world. However, farther research and more entree to the available empirical informations are besides needed in this instance, in order to explicate a clearer and more concrete position of the web. Last but non least, the bulk of the information was based on the perceptual experiences of interviewed and therefore it largely provides a position of the web as perceived by the experts. That is non to state that the whole research is based on perceptual experiences and non on facts, nevertheless, as it was besides mentioned in chapter 1, it should be read with a critical oculus.