Stealing Rembrandts: The Untold Stories of Notorious Art Heists

Image of Stealing Rembrandts: The Untold Stories of Notorious Art Heists
Release Date: 
July 5, 2011
Publisher/Imprint: 
Palgrave Macmillan (Academic)
Pages: 
256
Reviewed by: 

“Stealing Rembrandts at once reads like a crime thriller, a history, and a biography.”

In Stealing Rembrandts, security expert Anthony Amore and investigative journalist Tom Mashberg open the big heavy museum doors and throw back the curtains on some of the most spectacular heists of all time.

In the course of this book, they break many of the myths that surround what law enforcement calls one of the most lucrative types of crime in the world: art theft.

The masterworks of Rembrandt van Rijn are the most targeted items with prices ranging from a few thousand dollars to tens of millions of dollars or more. Detailing the actual thefts, Mr. Amore and Mr. Mashberg tell one long tale by telling several small ones.

There are sophisticated professional criminals sure, but there are far more (and more interesting) small timers, opportunists, self-described art experts, and the just plain mentally unhinged who attempt to steal great works of art.

The reasons for the thefts are just as varied as the thieves themselves. The authors show the length and expense museums, insurance companies, and the police will go to retrieve these lost works and put them back where they belong.

Stealing Rembrandts at once reads like a crime thriller, a history, and a biography.

Mr. Amore and Mr. Mashberg use an artist and his work as the hook for a bigger story: the crime against civilization that is art theft. Whether it is the pinching of a stamp sized etching by schoolboys or the cool, thieving hand of the professional upon the masterpiece, this kind of crime steals from us all. But more than that, their loss or destruction steals enjoyment, wonder, and culture not just from our present, but also from our futures.