National Stolen Art File


February 24, 2012

The FBI’s art crime program includes a tool the public can use to research whether art or cultural property they own or want to own is stolen.


Audio Transcript

Mollie Halpern: The FBI’s art crime program includes a tool the public can use to research whether art or cultural property they own or want to own is stolen.

Bonnie Magness-Gardiner: You really have to know what you’re buying because it’s very easy to buy something that is not legitimate.

Halpern: I’m Mollie Halpern of the Bureau, and this is FBI, This Week. The Bureau runs the National Stolen Art File—a database of stolen art and cultural property now available on the FBI website. The file is intended to assist law enforcement with cases, but Art Program Manager Bonnie Magness-Gardiner says it’s also a way for art, sports memorabilia, and other cultural collectors to protect their investments.

Bonnie Magness-Gardiner: They should go to the stolen art file as part of their due diligence when they’re considering purchasing something.

Halpern: The Internet makes it much easier to distribute fraudulent artwork and cultural objects. 

Magness-Gardiner: On the Internet, you’re just seeing an image—you can’t look at it, see if the signature is real, examine the brush strokes and the paint…

Halpern: To use the National Stolen Art file, visit www.fbi.gov

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