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Tag: museum

FBI Returns Charles Darwin Letter to Museum After Theft in 1970s

Stolen Charles Darwin letter is returned to the Smithsonian.

Stolen Charles Darwin letter is returned to the Smithsonian.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A handwritten letter by Charles Darwin was stolen from the Smithsonian Institution Archives about four decades ago, frustrating investigators and historians.

Then earlier this year, the FBI received a tip about the whereabouts of the letter written by the British naturalist and geologist known of his theory of evolution.

The artifact was return ed to the Smithsonian on May 26,

“Thanks to a tip from a member of the public, we were able to return this artifact to the care of the Smithsonian Archives,” Paul Abbate, assistant director in charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office, said in a statement. “It’s a privilege to return a piece of the history of science and exploration in the United States to the American people.”

Anne Van Camp, director of the Smithsonian Archives, said she’s relieved.

“This is an important event, as this type of crime is not easily detected, and it demonstrates how seriously the FBI regards our cultural heritage,” Van Camp said.

Retired FBI Agent Recalls Notorious, Unsolved Robbery at Boston Museum in 1990

Theft at Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum  in 1990.

Theft at Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in 1990.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Retired FBI agent and supervisor Tom Casson will never forget when he began investigating the notorious Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum robbery in March 1990, when thieves swiped artwork valued at up to a half-million dollars.

“Two individuals dressed as Boston police officers knocked on the side door of the museum, and at the time, there were two security personnel,” Casson told 22 News WWLP. “They were part-time students who had nothing else to do at night, so they took a job at the museum. 

“There were millions and millions of dollars’ worth of paintings and these two guys were the only ones who were charged with preventing what had happened to happen. They admitted what they thought were the two Boston police officers and were told there was a problem in the courtyard that they had to investigate.”

But they weren’t police officers and tied up the two security guards. They stole works by Degas, Flinck and Manet.

“Depending on who you ask, the value of the stuff taken was anywhere from $200 million to $500 million,” Cassano said. “As of the time I left (in 2001), they knew no more than they did the day it happened. We are not sure how many (suspects) there were. We know there were at least two. These two guards were put down in the basement so nobody kept track of what was happening. We know how they came in, but we don’t know how they got out.”

Casino said his office worked full-time on the case with more than 15 agents. The FBI also offered a $5 million reward for the capture of the thieves.

“Every prisoner who was incarcerated at the time knew that this was a ‘get out of jail free’ card if they could come up with these bandits,” Cassano said. “I don’t know how many calls we got. We had hundreds and hundreds of leads and none of them panned out to this day, as far as I know.”

D.C. Museum Displays Collection of Terrorism Artifacts Following Sept. 11 Attacks

World Trade Center after the 9/11 attacks via Wikipedia.

World Trade Center after the 9/11 attacks via Wikipedia.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A new exhibit at a Washington D.C. museum is haunting collection of artifacts from the FBI’s biggest terrorism cases since Sept. 11, 2001.

The exhibit, “Inside Today’s FBI: Fighting Crime in the Age of Terror,” showcases 160 artifacts from the terrorism cases, The USA Today reports. 

Included are running shoes worn by a reporter who was running in the Boston Marathon when the bomb attack occurred in 2013. Another artifact is the 1993 Nissan Pathfinder that was rigged with explosives in an attempted bombing of Times Square on May 1, 2010.

Another display called a “wall of terror” displays 18 IEDs from Iraq and Afghanistan.

“It is important to us to have these objects create a visceral effect,” exhibit writer Ellie Stanton says.

FBI Releases Video of Decades-Old Art Heist at Museum in Boston

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI released a jumpy surveillance video in hopes of solving the decades-old art heist at Boston’s Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum.

Authorities have been scratching their heads since two men, disguised as policemen, stole 13 gems, including three Rembrandts and works by Manet and Degas, NBC News reports.

The FBI released the video to the public for the first time. It was recorded 24 hours before the theft and shows a car that matches the description of the one reported to be involved in the theft the following night. An unidentified man also is shown.

“We have engaged in an exhaustive re-examination of the original evidence in this case,” said U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz, “to ensure that all avenues have been explored in the continuing quest to recover these artworks.”

Holocaust Museum Shooter James W. von Brunn Still Too Ill To Appear in Court

holocaust-museum-2By Rachel Leven
ticklethewire.com
WASHINGTON — The arraignment for James W. von Brunn, charged with fatally shooting a Holocaust Museum guard, was postponed Tuesday after prosecutors indicated that the white supremacist was still not healthy enough to make a court appearance.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Nicole Waid told U.S. Magistrate John M. Facciola that von Brunn’s D.C. Department of Corrections doctor said he was still not in good enough health since being shot during the incident earlier this month.

Von Brunn faces a first-degree murder charge.

After the proceeding, defense attorney A.J. Kramer declined to comment on specifics. However, he said that 88-year-old von Brunn was bed ridden. He also confirmed his previous remarks that von Brunn was responsive to statements.

The judge rescheduled the von Brunn’s appearance for July 10 at 9:30 a.m.

Von Brunn is charged with fatally shooting Holocaust Museum guard Stephen T. Johns on June 10. Von Brunn was shot in the face during return fire. He is currently at Greater Southeast Community Hospital.

Fed Prosecutor Says Holocaust Museum Shooter Still Too Ill for Court Appearance

I imagine some white supremacists are proud that 88-year-old James W. von Brunn shot and killed a black man at a Jewish museum. But are they still proud of him now that the FBI has found child pornography on his computer?

holocaust-museum-2

By Del Quentin Wilber
Washington Post Staff Writer
WASHINGTON — The 88-year-old white supremacist charged with murder in the killing of a security guard at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum this month was discharged from George Washington University Hospital last week but is too ill to appear in court, federal prosecutors said yesterday.

Since Friday, James W. von Brunn has been treated in a secure ward at United Medical Center, authorities said. At a brief hearing yesterday, federal prosecutor Nicole Waid said doctors indicated that von Brunn might be well enough to attend a court hearing early next week.

U.S. Magistrate Judge John M. Facciola set a hearing for Tuesday morning.

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