Claim Of IRA Heist Of $500 Million Art Haul Came ‘After A Few Guinnesses’!!!

File this under ‘ludicrous’ – and subtly racist.

A CBS television report, broadcast on July 12th, believe it or not, quotes a so-called art investigator as claiming that a half billion dollar art collection stolen from a Boston, Mass. art museum in 1990, is now in the hands of the IRA.

And how does Arthur Brand  – touted by CBS as ‘the Indiana Jones of the art world’, no less – know that the 13 masterpieces, including a Rembrandt and a Vermeer, valued at $500 million are now gathering dust in an IRA art dump? Well, it’s obvious isn’t it? It’s the IRA, so he gathered his intel in a pub, over what he calls ‘Guinnesses’. Where else could it happen?

Here is how the super sleuth knew he was on to the big story. By the way when will Americans learn that the plural of one glass or pint of Guinness is two glasses or pints of Guinness?` There’s no such thing as ‘Guinnesses’.

Anyway he managed to persuade a highly paid CBS reporter, a producer and a presenter to run with this rubbish:

“We have had talks with… former members of the IRA – and after a few Guinnesses, after a few talks – you can see in their eyes that they know more,” Brand said.

“How do we believe you?” Doane asked.

“Well, I have a track record. We have found some pieces back before. So let’s give this a shot,” Brand said.

I didn’t make that up. Here’s the full report:

Investigator “100 percent sure” stolen art in Boston heist is in Ireland

CBS News July 12, 2017, 8:51 AM

Twenty-seven years later, it’s still a mystery.

The biggest art heist in history, thieves targeted some of the highest-value art from Boston’s Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, leaving behind empty frames, tied-up security guards and few clues.

The 13 stolen masterpieces valued at around half-a-billion dollars included a Rembrandt and a Vermeer, reports CBS News correspondent Seth Doane.

“I’m 100 percent sure that they are in Ireland. Hundred percent sure. No doubt in my mind,” art investigator Arthur Brand said. He’s described as the Indiana Jones of the art world.

It’s an audacious claim to make after nearly three decades. But Brand alleges his leads point to the Irish Republican Army, or the IRA.

ctm-0712-art-investigator-arthur-brand.jpg
Seth Doane speaks with art investigator Arthur Brand

CBS News

“We have had talks with… former members of the IRA – and after a few Guinnesses, after a few talks – you can see in their eyes that they know more,” Brand said.

“How do we believe you?” Doane asked.

“Well, I have a track record. We have found some pieces back before. So let’s give this a shot,” Brand said.

Brand’s highest-profile find to date came working with German police to recover bronze horse statues which stood in front of Adolf Hitler’s Grand Chancellery building. He also helped recover Salvador Dali’s “Adolescence.”

“How is this stolen art used?” Doane asked.

“They use it as payment for drug deals, for arm deals,” Brand said. “Sometimes they use it for, like, art-napping. They kidnap paintings and they use it as – to get a lesser sentence.”

To find pieces the black market, Brand claims to have brokered deals with terrorist groups, the mafia and a slew of shady characters.

“On one hand you have the police, insurance companies, collectors, and on the other hand you have the criminals, the art thieves and the forgers. So there are two different kind of worlds and they do not communicate. So I put myself in the middle,” Brand said.

Recently he helped recover art which had been stolen from Westfries Museum in his native Holland.

“For the Netherlands – and especially for the town of Hoorn – these paintings are their history,” Brand said.

The paintings had been stolen in 2005 in the quaint town of Hoorn. Eleven years later, thanks to leads that Brand followed to Ukraine, five of the 24 pieces were returned with great fanfare.

“They stole a catalogue of 17th century Dutch masters,” museum director Ad Geerdink said.

“And you’ve left these empty frames as a reminder?” Doane asked.

“And as a protest,” Geerdink said.

“Why a protest?” Doane asked.

“Art crime, well, there isn’t anyone dead. Okay, it’s art – so many people don’t take it too seriously,” Geerdink said.

But, Brand said folks should. Interpol ranks art crime as the 4th highest-grossing criminal trade.

“When you steal a Rembrandt or a Van Gogh – this is… international cultural heritage. It belongs to you, to me, to the viewers,” Brand said.

The Gardner Museum is offering a $10 million reward and welcomes any efforts to get the stolen work back. But when we asked about Brand’s leads, they told us: “They’re not new… we’ve covered them years ago.”

“The museum is skeptical. The museum says your leads are dead-ends,” Doane said.

“Of course. Yes, but – well, we’ll see if it’s a dead end,” Brand said.

Navigating this underworld requires patience, a bit of luck – and a fair share of bravado.

Brand said he doesn’t care about the reward money, so what’s behind the drive?

“It’s the fame. If you solve the Isabella Stewart Gardner theft after 27 years, what more can you do?” Brand said.

It’s an irresistible challenge for what so far has been an unsolvable mystery.

4 responses to “Claim Of IRA Heist Of $500 Million Art Haul Came ‘After A Few Guinnesses’!!!

  1. Pingback: Claim Of IRA Heist Of $500 Million Art Haul Came ‘After A Few Guinnesses’!!! – seftonblog

  2. Ed, relax…

    There is much more to it than a few Guinesses. But – as you might understand – that information is not meant for a newspaper or whatever. If you are a journalist yourself, you should understand that some information is confidential. May I add that some of your colleagues – irish journalists – have contacted me, telling me that they are convinced too that the paintings are in Ireland.

    And please, don’t accuse a Dutchman of being subtly racist against the Irish.

    • And to defend Doane, the interviewer: I told him – off the record – what our leads are. Why we are convinced that the IRA has (or had at least some of) the paintings. But again, that could not be broadcasted, in order to protect the informers. Especially you should understand that…

  3. A few pints of Guinesses and I’m full of Dutch courage:
    ‘Leave me alone Copper, or the Goya gets it,’ I’ll cry.

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