The GW Law Library’s current display concerns art and cultural property crime, which includes antiquities theft, art theft, and art fraud. Such crime is the third highest-grossing annual criminal trade worldwide and is run primarily by organized crime syndicates to fund their other enterprises, from the drug and arms trades to terrorism.

The theft of artwork in 1990 from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, including rare paintings by Rembrandt and Vermeer, remains the largest property crime in U.S. history. The Museum is offering a $10 million reward for information leading to the recovery of the art.

To recover stolen art and to bring the criminals to justice, “the FBI has a dedicated Art Crime Team of 20 special agents, supported by DOJ trial attorneys for prosecutions. The Bureau also runs the National Stolen Art File, a computerized index of reported stolen art and cultural properties for the use of law enforcement agencies across the world.”

The Library’s collection includes a number of resources on art and cultural property crime, including Crime in the Art and Antiquities World and Stealing History: Art Theft, Looting, and Other Crimes Against Our Cultural Heritage. Visit our display on the main floor of the Law Library across from the Circulation Desk.

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