Museum Security and the Thomas Crown Affair

Eric C. Michaud, writes of the allure of stolen art and goes deeper- how can museums better secure their collections whileA "dealing" with the aftermath of the embarrassment of being a part of a breach?

Over the years, I’ve daydreamed about stealing a Vermeer, a Picasso, or Rembrandt.A It tickles me, as much as watching the reboot of The Thomas Crown Affair.1A Why is it, do you suppose, so much fun (despite the obvious immorality) to think about stealing a world renowned piece off the wall of a major metropolitan museum?A Is it the romantic thoughts of getting away with it, walking past infrared detectors, and pressure sensors ala Indiana Jones with the sack of sand to remove the idol without triggering the security system?A Is it the idea of snatching items with such fantastic prices, where the romance of possessing an item of such value is less intoxicating than selling it to a private collector for it to never be seen again?A I suspect others share my daydreams as they watch theater or hear of a brazen daylight heist at museums around the world, or from private collections.

With typically 85%-99% of a museum's total holdings not being on display, most pieces stolen or legitimate are never seen by the public. Stolen art can serve as black market chips to trade and they usually involve insiders who use the museum’s closed software systems as a point of vulnerable entry. In the endgame:

By publicizing what is missing or stolen, cooperative security can take place.

.:jps.anl.gov->

Further reading on the net can be found after the break:

http://www.museum-security.org/saz.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fence_(criminal)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elmyr_de_Hory

http://www.sourcesecurity.com/news/articles/co-3108-ga.3200.html

http://www.interpol.int/Public/WorkOfArt/Default.asp -A Interpol Art Theft Database

http://www.fbi.gov/hq/cid/arttheft/nationalstolen.htm - FBI Art Theft Database

Confessions of a Master Jewel Thief, by Bill Mason with Lee Gruendfeld (Villard, 2005), ISBN 0-375-
76071-7

http://www.artloss.com/ - Art Loss Register

http://www.asisonline.org/councils/documents/SuggestedPracticesforMuseumSecurity.pdf - Suggested
Guidelines for Museum Security

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/hackers/whoare/notable.html - Passage on Vladimir
Levin on the first electronic bank heist

http://www.wikihow.com/Forge-Email

:: Further reading courtesy of Eric C. Michaud, Vulnerability Assessment Team - Argonne National Laboratory ::

:: Journal of Physical Security, Vol. 4 no. 1, Paper 4, 2010, jps.anl.gov ::

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Posted: June 1st, 2010
at 8:35pm by Koookiecrumbles


Categories: art,crime,film,security

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