FBI, This Week: The FBI’s Art Crime Program
July 6, 2017
Members of the FBI’s Art Crime Team have specialized training in art and cultural property crime so they can investigate everything from museum heists to fraud and forgery matters.
Mollie Halpern: A one-of-a-kind Norman Rockwell painting. A rare 300-year-old Stradivarius violin. And an 1875 letter penned by Charles Darwin.
Stolen in separate cases, these are just some of the items of historical and artistic significance that have been returned to their rightful owners, thanks to the work of the FBI’s Art Crime Team.
The team is a rapid deployment group of 20 agents—and growing—located in 16 field offices across the country.
Supervisory Special Agent Tim Carpenter says these agents have specialized training in art and cultural property crime so they can investigate everything from museum heists to fraud and forgery matters.
Tim Carpenter: We work antiquity cases; we've done cases on sports memorabilia, rock and roll memorabilia, autographs; we occasionally will do Native American antiquities cases, coins—anything that’s collectable and worth money. Anything that has value.
Halpern: Art crime is an international problem that can cost victims tens of millions of dollars. For one of the Art Crime Team’s program managers, Bonnie Magness-Gardiner, solving a case is priceless.
Bonnie Magness-Gardiner: The objects that we recover represent our history, our culture, our civilization. Even if they are owned by a single museum or a single person, they are in fact representative of our culture in its entirety, and that makes it quite valuable and important to me to help in that recovery.
Halpern: With FBI, This Week, I’m Mollie Halpern of the Bureau.
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