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FBI Offers $25K Reward For Andy Warhol Campbell's Soup Painting Heist (networkworld.com) 109

coondoggie quotes a report from Networkworld: The FBI today said it was offering a reward of up to $25,000 for information leading to the recovery of seven Andy Warhol paintings stolen from the Springfield Art Museum in Springfield, Missouri. The collection, which has been owned by the Springfield Art Museum since 1985, is set number 31 of the Campbell's Soup I collection and is valued at approximately $500,000. Each painting in the screen print collection measures 37 inches high by 24.5 inches wide and framed in white frames, the FBI stated. The FBI says that seven of 10 Andy Warhol paintings Campbell's Soup I collection, made in 1968, were taken. Since its inception, the FBI's Art Crime Team has recovered more than 2,650 items valued at over $150 million.
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FBI Offers $25K Reward For Andy Warhol Campbell's Soup Painting Heist

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  • where does the FBI think it has 25K to offer up?? I mean yes its a shame, but shouldnt reward money be paid for by the victim, not the taxpayer???
    • Re:just curious (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Sowelu ( 713889 ) on Tuesday April 12, 2016 @03:41PM (#51894857)

      It's in the best interests of a state and its citizens to stop crime, so we employ people to do it. If a reward can get the authorities a lead more efficiently than paying an investigator that much salary for the time it would take, then it's in the peoples' best interests to see their taxes used that way.

      • hmm, interesting theory. i suppose i can agree with that to a degree
      • The Andy Warhol estate is getting staggering amounts of free publicity from this. Probably worth way more than any $25k reward fee. Maybe they are putting it up.

        Reminds me of the Starbucks christmas cups that were just a solid color "to avoid controversy". Thus creating it and getting oodles and oodles of free press from it.
    • Couldn't Mr Burns spare a few grand?

    • In this case, the taxpayer is the victim. Using government money to promote this scam "art" means more will be produced, which is a tragedy.

      • Using government money to promote this scam "art" means more will be produced, which is a tragedy.

        Given that Andy Warhol is dead, I don't think there's much of a risk of more Warhol paintings being produced any time soon.

      • In this case, the taxpayer is the victim. Using government money to promote this scam "art" means more will be produced, which is a tragedy.

        "Whenever somebody puts quotation marks around the word art, I imagine a stuffy guy with a square jaw glaring at a Maplethorpe photograph. And through his twisted, disgusted sneer he says "they call this 'art'! Can you believe it! 'Art,' they call it!" And he stands there, being disgusted for hours on end, just staring at it..."

    • by lgw ( 121541 )

      I really hope the money for the reward was funded by the insurance company, not the taxpayer. Otherwise that's taking corporate welfare to a whole new place.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Sowelu ( 713889 )

        If someone assaults you and breaks your leg, should your health insurance pay to find and arrest the guy who did it? If a serial arsonist is going around torching homes, should individual victims pay for the police to track him down?

        • by Anonymous Coward

          I'm talkin out my ass here, but take into consideration what the insurance company has to pay out if they aren't found. $25k is a small price to retrieve 7/10 of a half million dollar set.

        • by lgw ( 121541 )

          A reward is different. Also, violent crime actually matters, while this theft is only a curiosity (a point well made by the Thomas Crown remake, I thought).

        • by Anonymous Coward

          If someone assaults you and breaks your leg, should your health insurance pay to find and arrest the guy who did it?

          Lousy HMO, I'd expect my insurance company to hire someone to find and break both legs of whoever assaulted me.

        • If someone assaults you and breaks your leg, should your health insurance pay to find and arrest the guy who did it? If a serial arsonist is going around torching homes, should individual victims pay for the police to track him down?

          You can pay for a private investigation of crimes. You can't interfere with the police though.

          So, with a lot of money on the line, yes, an insurance company might do that. And check out and mandate certain security features first, etc.

        • by tnk1 ( 899206 )

          Art insurers *will* often do just that. This sort of art is very pricey and the pay out is very large. Offering rewards and also employing investigators is something insurers will regularly do in this sort of case.

      • Yes. Why buy insurance if someone's going to pay for it for you.
      • I think the reward should be paid by Campbell Soup and instead of $25K it should be free soup.
    • where does the FBI think it has 25K to offer up?? I mean yes its a shame, but shouldnt reward money be paid for by the victim, not the taxpayer???

      Most likely, it's the insurance that is offering that reward and the FBI is just acting as an intermediary.

      And saying that the FBI is offering that money ensures that people don't flood the insurance company's normal business phone number.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      where does the FBI think it has 25K to offer up?? I mean yes its a shame, but shouldnt reward money be paid for by the victim, not the taxpayer???

      If they catch the thief via a tip, maybe it saves more than $25K in the costs of running an investigation.

    • where does the FBI think it has 25K to offer up?? I mean yes its a shame, but shouldnt reward money be paid for by the victim, not the taxpayer???

      I suspect it's considered cost effective. If you can tempt someone to squeal, that's a whole lot of police work you don't have to do to catch the perps.

    • Re:just curious (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Harlequin80 ( 1671040 ) on Tuesday April 12, 2016 @04:23PM (#51895125)

      Are you serious or am I being trolled?

      The FBI will expend resources to find the person / people who committed this crime. That is what the FBI exist to do. In order to do this they will have to use man hours and equipment which will have a $ value and, through extensive experience, they will be able to make a remarkably accurate estimation of how many man hours and resources they will consume and what their % chance of catching the person will be.

      If they can spend $25k on a tip, and that reduces the man hours used and or it increases the % chance of capture then it is the FBI spending money on what it is required to do.

      Unless of course you are trying to argue that some criminal law shouldn't be enforced because you don't think it's important or the victims are a people / group you think aren't worthy of receiving FBI support.

    • Re:just curious (Score:5, Informative)

      by tlhIngan ( 30335 ) <(slashdot) (at) (worf.net)> on Tuesday April 12, 2016 @04:39PM (#51895213)

      where does the FBI think it has 25K to offer up?? I mean yes its a shame, but shouldnt reward money be paid for by the victim, not the taxpayer???

      They had $15k to spend on an iPhone, and that data was of far lower value than this would be. After all, if it's a tip that proves useful, then they'll pay you the $25k. So $25k gets them a guaranteed recovery and/or arrest, versus spending $15k on a dubious recovery.

      One could also argue the $25k to recover the art would be of far more value to society than the $15k they spent on the iPhone.

  • by frnic ( 98517 ) on Tuesday April 12, 2016 @03:19PM (#51894659)

    That way everyone can enjoy it and no one can steal it.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      You're stealing my ones and zeroes!

        lol
          I download something from Napster
          And the same guy I downloaded it from starts downloading it from me when I'm done
          I message him and say "What are you doing? I just got that from you"
          "getting my song back fucker"

      http://bash.org/?104052

    • I can possibly see the objection to art by living artists (or a single generation dead) who in theory make money off it, but art by artists dead 2, 3, 4+ generations? It makes no sense. Especially when its held by museums who publicly display it -- or worse, have it in their collection and *don't* display it because they haven't the wall space.

      I got sad news for 99% of the museums out there, me viewing or even printing life-size versions of their collections isn't going to be why I don't ever pay the admi

    • Yeah, well, this [wikipedia.org] is a pretty good scan of Van Gogh's Irises. What it doesn't show you is that the paint is heavily textured - it's up to 5 mm thick or so. I thought I knew the painting pretty well until I saw it up close. Completely different in person than on computer or in art book. If you're ever in LA, the Getty is well worth the visit.
    • That way everyone can enjoy it and no one can steal it.

      It is enormously difficult to capture a sense of depth and texture in a scan. It is no coincidence that Jackson Pollack began as a muralist. The 23" 16:9 screen doesn't do him justice.

    • Sorry but there's a big difference between looking at an artwork on a screen and seeing it in real life.

      For example the Mona lisa is a garbage small piece of crap and looks much better on a monitor, and I don't understand why people put it on its pedestal

      Gustav Klimt's the Kiss on the other hand is an awe inspiring masterpiece the height of a room which wouldn't even be done justice on a large 4K TV let alone a small computer monitor.

  • Should of replaced it with the fake one you painted

  • ...or is that a Russian ATM?
  • I saw Exit through the gift shop... I know how easy it is to create this type of "art"

  • by sconeu ( 64226 ) on Tuesday April 12, 2016 @03:40PM (#51894855) Homepage Journal

    Given that it happened in Springfield, may I suggest investigating one C. Montgomery Burns, and possibly "Fat Tony" D'Amico?

    • Doctor: Mrs. Simpson, I'm sorry, but your husband suffers from a persecution complex, extreme paranoia, and... bladder hostility.
      Marge: Doctor, if you just talk to him for five minutes without mentioning our town Springfield, you'd see how sane he is.
      Doctor: You mean there really is a Springfield? Good lord!

  • crunchy frames, too.
  • by dissy ( 172727 ) on Tuesday April 12, 2016 @03:52PM (#51894925)

    And the FBI implores the public to allow them access to their iPhones and to disable disk encryption to assist them in finding these terroristic painting thieves before more innocent lives are lost!

    We can't budge on this people! Encrypt your phone and owners of campbell's soup paintings will starve dead in the streets!

  • by DoofusOfDeath ( 636671 ) on Tuesday April 12, 2016 @03:53PM (#51894939)

    Seems to me that if the FBI has $25k to offer in reward money, it would be better spent on recovering the stolen cars of people who can barely make ends meet and needed their cars to get to work.

    Or is that not how these things work?

    • Love or hate warhol there is a massive difference between a commodity car, where the victim would consider themselves made whole with another car, and a piece of artwork which is impossible to replace.

    • This is a non sequitur. You state the people can barely make ends meet, yet they have cars worth stealing.

      • Or maybe their car was merely convenient. The closest one without a car alarm but still with tires worth money on the grey market.

    • Seems to me that if the FBI has $25k to offer in reward money, it would be better spent on recovering the stolen cars of people who can barely make ends meet and needed their cars to get to work.
      Or is that not how these things work?

      No, it isn't how these things work,

      The most basic distinctions between state and federal jurisdiction escape the geek --- and he never learns and better. The FBI becomes involved on crimes that have a plausible interstate and foreign dimension.

      The clunker car you've been driving to work is probably worth more dead than alive.

      So you drown it in the lake or set it on fire and file a claim for the insurance. It's a crime, but not a federal case.

      • The clunker car you've been driving to work is probably worth more dead than alive. So you drown it in the lake or set it on fire and file a claim for the insurance. It's a crime, but not a federal case.

        that would likely only be the case if you had a loan on it but if you don't and it runs then it's utility value is likely more than the insurance money. It seems that the low end for vehicle that move under their own power is in the $500-$1,000 range and while they look like shit on tires, can actually be fairly reliable vehicles (I've owned several). These are also the same sorts of vehicles that you don't get comprehensive coverage on but only the bare minimum so even if you did set it on fire they you ar

    • $25000 on recovering something worth less than $25000 is not how things work. That instantly legitimizes a business model of stealing cars and effectively is using taxation money in place of insurance.

  • The whole concept of [rewards] has gotta be the most wildly optimistic crime-fighting idea. I mean, so how does it work? Okay. I'm on line at the post office. I see [a poster of the stolen item]. I check [around]. If it's not [there], that's pretty much all I can do. Okay? It's not that I don't want to help.

    • It works in two ways. The first is:
      "I know dave stole the painting. But cops are fucking pig scum bags. Like fuck I'm gunna tell them anything. Not to mention if I did it would be a total fucking hassle. But for $25k, I never liked Dave anyway"
      The second:
      "Pretty sure I saw a car like the one they were talking about yesterday but I'm sure someone else will have got a better view of it / will be the person to call let the cops know. And I'm probably wrong anyway so I wont bother" "But $25k reward. Well

  • It's weird - why didn't they take all 10?

    • If I had to take a guess it will have been because they couldn't carry them all in 1 trip. Get in, alarm starts, grab the paintings. 2 paintings per guy with the last guy also carrying a bag with their tools. You don't go back for the others as it will take to long.

  • From the article:
    "Last year, nine original Warhol prints worth an estimated $350,000 from the late artist's "Endangered Species" series were quietly stolen from a Los Angeles movie business and replaced with color copies, in an art heist that went undetected for years."

    So, we're looking for someone either in a phone booth or a 1980s sports car if we want that cool $25k?

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