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Crime & Litigation



Stolen Civil War photographs, WWII posters recovered

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Written by Associated Press   
Thursday, 18 September 2014 08:46
A World War II poster depicting a U.S. Navy sailor was one the items stolen from the library. Image courtesy of LiveAuctioneers.com archive. BANGOR, Maine (AP) – A Bangor man who volunteered at the city library has been sentenced to six months in jail for stealing $31,000 worth of Civil War-era photographs and other historical memorabilia that belonged to the library.

WABI-TV reports that Russell Graves pleaded guilty Tuesday.

Police started investigating in March when the owner of a city collectibles shop became suspicious when someone tried to sell him the photographs and World War II posters.

The suspicious shopkeeper refused the items and called the library, which checked its collection and discovered the theft.

A woman entered the same store the next day and again tried to sell the items. This time police were ready and traced the photos to the 28-year-old Graves.

The stolen items were all recovered.

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Information from: WABI-TV, http://www.wabi.tv

Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

AP-WF-09-17-14 1008GMT



ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE
A World War II poster depicting a U.S. Navy sailor was one the items stolen from the library. Image courtesy of LiveAuctioneers.com archive.
Last Updated on Thursday, 18 September 2014 09:00
 

Calif. man pleads quilty to defacing Banksy murals

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Written by LINDSAY WHITEHURST, Associated Press   
Wednesday, 17 September 2014 09:47
'Mobile Lovers' by British artist Banksy PARK CITY, Utah (AP) – A California man pleaded guilty Monday to defacing two Park City murals believed to have been done by the mysterious British graffiti artist Banksy.

If David William Noll, 36, pays $13,000 in restoration costs before a November sentencing hearing, prosecutors say they won't seek jail time as part of a plea deal.

Noll told a judge Monday that he suffers from bipolar disorder, and he had little memory of driving to Park City and damaging the works on New Year's Eve.

“Banksy” is a pseudonym for the graffiti artist known for silhouetted figures and spray-painted messages that show up in unexpected places. His works have sold for as much as $1.1 million at auction.

The Park City murals appeared on the city's historic Main Street in 2010, around the time Banksy was in town for the Sundance Film Festival debut of his documentary, Exit Through the Gift Shop.

One depicts a young boy with a pink halo and angel wings kneeling to pray behind a can of pink paint. It was found covered in brown spray paint after the protective glass was shattered. Also damaged was a bulletproof-glass cover over a mural of a cameraman shooting video footage of a flower. A spider-web crack on the glass obscured the image.

Citing YouTube videos police say Noll posted about the vandalism, Summit County Attorney David Brickey said he appears to be a frustrated artist who didn't understand the acclaim that surrounds the elusive Banksy.

“He said it was graffiti, and he was just marking it up again,” said Brickey, describing the videos.

At a hearing Monday, Noll wore a tie decorated with a Norman Rockwell painting that shows the artist sitting at a canvas, looking in a mirror and painting himself.

Noll told state court Judge Todd Shaughnessy that despite his lack of memory, viewing the videos and talking to his family convinced him that he had defaced the murals.

Noll was also sentenced to about five months in jail after pleading no contest to vandalizing Banksy works in Los Angeles. He remains on probation in California.

His sentencing hearing was set for Nov. 17.

Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

AP-WF-09-16-14 0029GMT



ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE
'Mobile Lovers' by British artist Banksy
Last Updated on Wednesday, 17 September 2014 10:03
 

Fight over World War II-era German tank goes to court

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Written by Associated Press   
Tuesday, 16 September 2014 09:11
A1942 Panzer IV Ausf. F2 tank at the United States Army Ordnance Museum, Aberdeen Proving Ground, in Maryland. Image by Mark Pellegrini. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 2.5 license. REDWOOD CITY, Calif. (AP) – A company headed by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen has filed a lawsuit in the San Francisco Bay Area over a World War II-era German tank it says it paid $2.5 million for but did not receive.

The Panzer IV tank was part of a fleet of military vehicles amassed by Stanford University-trained engineer Jacques Littlefield, who kept them on his family estate up a winding, forested road above Silicon Valley. After his death, his family turned them over to the Massachusetts-based Collings Foundation, which put some of them up for auction in Portola Valley in July.

In the lawsuit filed Wednesday in San Mateo County, Allen's company, Vulcan Warbirds, says it reached an agreement to buy the tank after the auction, but was later told there had been a misunderstanding and the foundation didn't want to give the tank up. By then, it had already wired the money to the bank account of the company that was handling the auction, Auctions America, according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit claims breach of contract and names Auctions America and the Collings Foundation.

Collings Foundation CEO Rob Collings told the Palo Alto Daily News (http://bit.ly/1pWSlM5) the tank was never sold. The company put it up for auction, but then reached its fundraising goal without selling the tank. The foundation was hoping to raise $10 million from the auction to help build a military vehicle museum at its Stow, Mass., headquarters.

“So the decision was made by our trustees that this was core to the collection and we're going to keep it,” Collings said.

He said it was his understanding that Auctions America had returned the $2.5 million. Auctions America spokeswoman Amy Christie said in an email the company understands the matter is in litigation and is working with the parties to reach a resolution.

There are only five Panzer IV tanks in the United States, according to Vulcan Warbirds. The Seattle-based company leases rare military planes and vehicles to the Flying Heritage Collection, a museum located in Everett, Washington, the suit says.

Vulcan Warbirds said in a statement Auctions America had failed to honor its agreement, and it looked forward to restoring the Panzer IV tank and having it join a Sherman tank and other historic military aircraft and vehicles at the Flying Heritage Collection.

Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

AP-WF-09-12-14 2154GMT



ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE
A1942 Panzer IV Ausf. F2 tank at the United States Army Ordnance Museum, Aberdeen Proving Ground, in Maryland. Image by Mark Pellegrini. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 2.5 license.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 16 September 2014 09:28
 

Brussels Jewish museum suspect to remain in custody for 3 months

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Written by AFP Wire Service   
Friday, 12 September 2014 10:26

2009 photo of the Jewish Museum of Belgium, in Brussels. Credit: Michael Wal, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported, 2.5 Generic, 2.0 Generic and1.0 Generic license.

BRUSSELS (AFP) - Mehdi Nemmouche, suspected of killing four people at Brussels' Jewish Museum in May, was remanded in custody for another three months on Friday, judicial officials said.

Nemmouche, 29, a French national of Algerian origin who spent more than a year fighting with Islamic extremists in Syria, has been charged with "murder in a terrorist context" after an Israeli couple, a French woman and a Belgian were shot dead at the museum in central Brussels.

The hearing took place in a closed session and officials said the remand period could be extended again, after Nemmouche was first ordered held for a month following his extradition from France at the end of July.

The court buildings in Brussels were under heavy security for the hearing, highlighting the sensitivity of the case which shocked the country and dismayed its Jewish community.

Nemmouche's lawyers said they had not asked for bail but that such an approach "was absolutely not an admission of guilt."

One of the lawyers, Sebastien Courtoy, said there was a major problem with prosecution in that "there is no direct proof of the clear presence of Nemmouche at the scene."

Courtoy claimed authorities were trying to blacken his client's character, citing recent press reports that Nemmouche had helped guard Western hostages held by Islamic extremists in Syria.

The museum shooting -- the first such attack in Brussels in three decades -- raised fears of a resurgence of anti-Semitic violence in Europe and of terror attacks from foreign fighters returning from Syria.

Nemmouche was arrested in the southern French city of Marseille days on from the attack after being spotted on a bus from Brussels.

A revolver and Kalashnikov rifle were found in his luggage, resembling weapons captured on museum security footage, as was a camera.

The museum is due to reopen to the public on Sunday amid tight security.

Museum officials said this week that Nemmouche does not want to take part in a reconstruction of the events there as part of the legal case against him.

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ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE

2009 photo of the Jewish Museum of Belgium, in Brussels. Credit: Michael Wal, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported, 2.5 Generic, 2.0 Generic and1.0 Generic license.

Last Updated on Friday, 12 September 2014 10:36
 

Settlement sought with heirs on Klimt painting

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Written by Associated Press   
Thursday, 11 September 2014 08:37

Gustav Klimt (Austrian, 1883-1964), 'Portrait of Gertrud Loew,' 1902, reproduced from art book by Lizenziert under public domain via Wikimedia Commons

VIENNA (AP) - The present Austrian owners of a valuable Gustav Klimt painting say they plan to reach a fair settlement with Jewish heirs of the family who left the artwork behind as they fled the Nazis.

The "Bildnis Gertrud Loew'' (Portrait of Gertrud Loew'' is valued at up to 19.3 million euros ($25 million.) It was abandoned by Gertrud Felsoevary and her family after Austria was annexed by Hitler's Germany in 1938 and is now in the possession of the Klimt Foundation.

Foundation members said Wednesday that they want to reach a "fair and just'' solution after a committee of experts deemed that the picture fell under Austrian restitution laws.

The foundation says it hopes to buy the portrait but also has left open its return to the heirs.

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Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


Last Updated on Thursday, 11 September 2014 08:54
 
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