It began last Friday, when agents seized two Indian sculptures from Christie’s meant to be auctioned off this week. Another sculpture, which was en route to New York to be sold, was confiscated on Tuesday. The next morning, authorities took possession of an eighth-century Afghan marble sculpture of Hindu gods from an East 67th Street gallery. The force behind Operation Hidden Idol, a combination of Homeland Security and the office of Manhattan district attorney Cy Vance, was responsible for compiling much of the evidence against Subhash Kapoor—a New York gallery owner who is allegedly responsible for stealing as many as 2,622 (mainly Indian) artifacts worth $107.6 million, making him one of the most prolific antiquities smugglers in history. The high-profile nature of the seizures has frustrated the organizers of Asia Week, but prosecutors claim that advance notice for dealers might cause works to disappear underground. For federal investigators, the 10-day event seems to be the perfect moment to draw attention to a market that is often criticized for its penchant for secrecy.
03 Italian investigators have pinpointed 13 suspects in the case of the Castelvecchio Museum heist, during which 17 paintings worth around $16 million were stolen from the Verona institution.