The theft of jewels and art is a serious federal crime punishable by high fines and lengthy prison sentences.
Jewel thefts may sound like crimes that belong in big budget Hollywood movies, but they happen in real life. They happen so often, in fact, that the FBI has a special team devoted to investigating crimes involving jewels and precious art.
Comprised of 16 agents, the Art Crime Team is tasked with addressing art and cultural property crimes. Since it was created in 20014, the FBI’s Art Crime Team has recovered nearly 15,000 stolen items valued at over $165 million.
2009 Art Theft Made International Headlines
In 2009, two thieves dressed in regular business suits stole $65 million in jewelry from a famous diamond store in London. According to an ABC News report, the robbery took place in the daytime and is considered one of the biggest jewel heists in British history.
And the incident is far from isolated. In 2003, thieves stole $189 million worth of diamonds, gold, and jewels from a bank in Belgium. What made the story so sensational is that the bank in question is considered one of the world’s most secure. With 10 layers of security, including heat detectors, radar, and a magnetic field, it’s designed to be impenetrable. Investigators were able to track down the thief by using DNA evidence.
In 1990, thieves stole over a dozen rare masterpieces from a museum in Boston. The works are valued at between $300 million and $500 million. The thieves gained access to the museum after hours by dressing as police officers and claiming they were investigating a noise complaint. The crime has never been solved, and the art has never been recovered. The paintings include a Vermeer, three Rembrandts, and five paintings by Degas.
Jewelry and Art Theft Is a Federal Crime
The theft of jewels and art is a serious federal crime punishable by high fines and lengthy prison sentences. Federal authorities maintain international databases of suspects and convicted criminals connected to art and jewel thefts. Technology has made it easier for police to track down suspected thieves.
The Importance of Working with an Experienced Texas Federal Criminal Defense Lawyer
If you’ve been charged with something as serious as a jewel or art theft, you shouldn’t leave your case to chance — or unskilled hands. The federal statutes that address the theft of fine art and jewelry impose harsh penalties on those who are convicted. Protect your future by contacting a knowledgeable Texas federal criminal defense lawyer about your case.
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