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 iPhone, Art heist, Canaletto, Guinness
Priceless Art Stolen With iPhone - ArtLyst Article image

Priceless Art Stolen With iPhone

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An elderly art-dealer is the victim of a brutal art heist during which the thieves were instructed what to steal via iPhone

Two thugs broke into the home of the Northern Irish ex-vicar on 3 January 2012, beat, and then gagged him. Using an iPhone, they undertook a video survey of all his artworks and furniture, which they then sent to an expert accomplice, who instructed which objects were worth taking and which were not. This technique, combining old school thuggery with the latest technology, proved remarkably successful, with the thieves making off with several million dollars worth of art.

But the real cost is surely the psychological effect of the heist on the victim, who,  fearing for his safety, has kept his identity a secret. Furthermore, the two thieves – about whom we know nothing, except for the fact that they had Irish accents – were remarkably nihilistic in approach, deciding to destroy all that they declined to take, using a hatchet to smash the rejects. 

And there may even be a possibility of repeat attacks, given the fact that the thieves made off with the dealer's address book, containing the names of several wealthy clients, including members of the Guinness family! These contacts have been warned to heighten their security, and that of their own collections for fear of a second strike. 

The thieves stole antique furniture, collectibles, and paintings, including works by the 18th-century Venetian painter Canaletto. Authorities stated: ‘This robbery was well-planned and ruthlessly executed’: ‘They waited and then they struck and they have left an old man battered, terrified, and ill with worry.’ The Police Service of Northern Ireland is currently working hard on the case, alongside the An Garda Siochana – Ireland's national police force.

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