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Crime & Litigation



Stolen 17th century Italian books found in San Francisco area

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Written by Associated Press   
Friday, 27 February 2015 10:03
The title page of one of the books seized by U.S. authorities in the San Francisco Bay area. U.S. Immigration and Customs image SAN FRANCISCO (AP) –Two Italian history books from the 17th century have been discovered in the San Francisco Bay Area and will be returned to their country of origin.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports that the books, Stirpium Historiae and Rariorm Plantarum Historia Anno 1601, were stolen from Italy's Historical National Library of Agriculture and sold to an antiquities dealer in Italy.

Homeland Security Investigations Assistant Special Agent in Charge David Prince says a buyer in the San Francisco Bay Area, who was unaware the books were stolen, purchased them.

The books are among 19 stolen artifacts slated for return to the Italian government. The newspaper reports they include a 17th century cannon, fifth century Greek pottery and some items dating to 300-460 B.C. The goods were smuggled into the United States over the last several years.

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Information from: San Francisco Chronicle, http://www.sfgate.com

Copyright 2015 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

AP-WF-02-26-15 1451GMT



ADDITIONAL IMAGES OF NOTE
The title page of one of the books seized by U.S. authorities in the San Francisco Bay area. U.S. Immigration and Customs image The two 17th century books are among 19 items that will be returned to the Italian government. U.S. Immigration and Customs image
Last Updated on Friday, 27 February 2015 10:26
 

Charges dropped against retiree who had antique pistol in car

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Written by Associated Press   
Friday, 27 February 2015 09:52

An example of a flintlock pistol in 'Queen Anne' layout, made in Lausanne by Galliard, circa 1760. On display at Morges military museum. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 France license.

BRIDGETON, N.J. (AP) – Weapons charges have been dropped against a retired New Jersey teacher who was caught with a 300-year-old pistol in a car.

The Cumberland County Prosecutor's Office announced on Wednesday that it was dropping its charges against 72-year-old Gordon VanGlider of Maurice River Township.

He was arrested in November when a police officer found the antique flintlock pistol during a car stop. VanGlider was a passenger in the vehicle.

He could have faced up to 10 years in prison and lost his pension if he had been convicted of unlawful possession of a weapon.

Some gun rights advocates seized the case in recent weeks as an example of New Jersey gun laws that are too strict.

Copyright 2015 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

AP-WF-02-26-15 1429GMT



ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE

 An example of a flintlock pistol in 'Queen Anne' layout, made in Lausanne by Galliard, circa 1760. On display at Morges military museum. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 France license.

Last Updated on Friday, 27 February 2015 09:59
 

Stolen Picasso painting discovered in New York

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Written by AFP wire service   
Thursday, 26 February 2015 17:37

Picasso's 'Coiffeuse' that was seized in New York. U.S. Department of Justice image.

NEW YORK (AFP) – A Picasso painting, snatched more than a decade ago from a storeroom in Paris, has surfaced in New York and will be returned to the French government, U.S. officials said Thursday.

The century-old Cubist oil was smuggled into the United States last December from Belgium with a shipping label that described the contents as a handicraft holiday present worth 30 euros.

The painting, known as La Coiffeuse or The Hairdresser, is estimated to be worth millions of dollars, U.S. prosecutors said.

It was intercepted by U.S. customs and subsequently seized by Homeland Security Investigations.

"A lost treasure has been found," said Loretta Lynch, attorney for the eastern district of New York.

"Because of the blatant smuggling in this case, this painting is now subject to forfeiture to the United States. Forfeiture of the painting will extract it from the grasp of the black market in stolen art so that it can be returned to its rightful owner," added Lynch, who is also the U.S. Attorney General nominee.

Painted in 1911, the oil-on-canvas measures 33 by 46 centimeters (13 by 18 inches) and is part of the Musee National d'Art Moderne collection in Paris.

It was last exhibited publicly in Munich, Germany, where it was on loan to the Kunsthalle der Hypo-Kulturstiftung.

It was then returned to Paris and placed in the storerooms of the Centre George Pompidou. Officials only realized it was missing when a loan request came through in 2001 and they could not find it.



ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE

 Picasso's 'Coiffeuse' that was seized in New York. U.S. Department of Justice image.

Last Updated on Friday, 27 February 2015 09:37
 

China imposes one-year ban on ivory imports, effective now

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Written by Associated Press   
Thursday, 26 February 2015 16:49

BEIJING (AP) - China imposed a one-year ban on ivory imports that took immediate effect Thursday amid criticism that its citizens' huge appetite for ivory has fueled poaching that threatens the existence of African elephants.

The State Administration of Forestry declared the ban in a public notice posted on its official site, in which it said the administration would not handle any import request.

In an explanatory news report, an unnamed forestry official told the state-run Legal Evening News that authorities hope the ban would be a concrete step to reduce the demand for African tusks and to protect wild elephants. The official said the temporary ban would allow authorities to evaluate its effect on elephant protection before they can take further, more effective steps.

China is the world's largest importer of smuggled tusks, although Beijing has campaigned against illegal ivory. Six tons of illegal ivory was pulverized last year in the southern city of Dongguan, and Chinese courts have stepped up prosecution of illegal ivory trade.

The government also has warned its citizens not to bring back any ivory, but critics say the public awareness campaign is inadequate as many Chinese do not know that tusks can only obtained by killing the elephant.

After China acquired a legal stockpile of ivory in 2008, demand for ivory has surged among increasingly affluent Chinese who see ivory as a status-defining luxury, and high profits have fueled a strong underground market for the product.

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Copyright 2015 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This information may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.



ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE
Last Updated on Thursday, 26 February 2015 17:04
 

U.S. returns stolen painting, bronze statuette to Italy

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Written by AFP wire service   
Wednesday, 25 February 2015 10:18
A well-known Giambattista Tiepolo work, 'The Immaculate Conception,' painted between 1767 and 1768. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons. NEW YORK (AFP) – U.S. authorities Tuesday handed back to Italy an 18th century painting and ancient Etruscan bronze statuette at a ceremony in New York, decades after they were stolen.

The painting, The Holy Trinity Appearing to Saint Clement, is attributed to artist Giambattista Tiepolo and the bronze of Greek god Herakles dates from the sixth or fifth century B.C.

The Tiepolo was stolen from a private home in the Italian city of Turin in 1982, resurfacing at a New York auction in January 2014, when it was seized by the FBI.

The statuette was stolen from a museum in the Italian coastal town of Pesaro in 1964 and was eventually discovered when it was offered for sale by an auction house in Manhattan, where it was also seized by the FBI.

"Both the Tiepolo painting and the Etruscan sculpture represent Italy's rich cultural history and today will be returned to their homeland," said Manhattan deputy U.S. attorney Richard Zabel.

"For decades, two significant pieces of Italian heritage have been on the run ... until today. We are proud to be able to return these key pieces of work back to the Italians," said FBI assistant director Diego Rodriguez.

Last May, U.S. authorities handed back to Cambodian officials an ancient statue of a warrior that was stolen in 1972.

The 10th-century sandstone Duryodhana bondissant was snatched from a temple in Cambodia and first sold in London in 1975.

It was supposed to have been auctioned again at Sotheby's in New York in 2011, but the sale was stopped after Cambodian authorities made an appeal through UNESCO.



ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE
A well-known Giambattista Tiepolo work, 'The Immaculate Conception,' painted between 1767 and 1768. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 25 February 2015 10:49
 
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