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Art Crime Team


Mollie Halpern: As the FBI celebrates the 10th anniversary of its Art Crime Team, it offers advice for collectors of all kinds.

I’m Mollie Halpern of the Bureau, and this is FBI, This Week. The FBI’s Art Crime Team has recovered more than 11,800 pieces of art and artifacts since it was created a decade ago. The value of that property is worth about $160 million. Bonnie Magness-Gardiner, the program manager of the FBI’s art theft program, says returning the stolen art is rewarding but reminds collectors they can only get stolen property returned if they can prove it belonged to them in the first place.

Bonnie Magness-Gardiner: Whatever you collect, you should have an inventory of, by having a record of your valid ownership of this piece. You need to have a description of it, you need to have a photograph of it, and you need to keep those separate from the work itself. So that if a thief comes in and steals your collection, they don’t steal the inventory at the same time.

Halpern: The Art Crime Team helped convict more than 80 people for art crimes. To learn more about this team, visit www.fbi.gov.


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