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Saturday 20 September 2014

Gardai attempt to reunite owners with stolen artworks worth over €100,000

Some of the paintings are over 200 years old

Published 19/06/2014 | 13:49

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GARDAI are seeking out art collectors as they look to reunite owners with stolen artwork worth over €100,000.

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Some of the paintings gathered are over 200 years old.

The paintings, books and antiques were discovered in April at the Dublin home of a well known art thief, after being stolen in the 1980s and 1990s.

Gardai recovered 48 paintings from the property and have since reunited six of the pieces with owners in Dublin, Carlow, Belfast and the UK.

The total haul by Gardai holds an estimated value of €135,000 – with over €100,000 worth of art still to be re-homed.

Garda Superintendent Paul Moran said: “Our objective is to return these pieces of art to their owners.

“We have confirmed that six of these recovered items have been stolen and we suspect that the remaining items were also stolen.”

No charges have been made in relation to the discovery of the art but the investigation is said to be at a very early stage.

Gardai believe that many of the paintings were stolen from private collectors, stately homes and hotels and many were replaced by replicas so that the thefts would not be discovered.

The collection includes an oil painting of a ruined castle landscape by William Ashford which dates back to the 1800s which is worth in excess of €10,000.

Pieces by Irish artists Brian Ballard, Graham Knuttel and Mark O’Neill have also been recovered and are also valued at €10,000 each.

“The antiques have been checked to see that they are authentic and we have had independent experts looking at it as part of the investigation,” said Superintendent Moran.

Gardai from Pearse Street also liaised with the Arts and Antiques Unit in the National Bureau of Criminal Investigation and Interpol as part of the ongoing investigation and they are appealing to anyone with information to come forward.

“We are appealing to anyone who may have been offered these items for purchase or to hotels and stately homes to check similar paintings because it may be the case that some of the paintings on their premises’ have been replaced by copies,” added Superintendent Moran.

All of the artwork is on display on the Garda website www.garda.ie and anyone who has information in relation to the investigation is being urged to contact Pearse Street Garda Station at (01) 666 9000 or pearse.street.incidentroom@garda.ie.

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