Friday, November 09, 2007

Art Thefts

One of the big news items for Waterbury this week was the arrest of Waterbury resident Diane Catalani, who, as it turns out, suffers from a mental illness which led her to steal art and artifacts from museums and other organizations. I was relieved to learn that she had the Goodyear bible that had been stolen from the Naugatuck Historical Society--when that theft occurred, I had assumed it would never be seen again.

Returning all the stolen items could get a little tricky. Museums routinely mark collection items with at least an identifying number, but if all you have is the number, the police will have no way of knowing which institution it came from. Some of the items may have been stolen from schools or churches which don't place identification marks on their collections, which will make things complicated.

The photo which ran in the newspaper, showing the artworks in police custody, made me cringe. The paintings were safer in Catalani's house. While I'm sure the police are treating the art as well as they know how, the photo showed the paintings leaning up against one another on the floor, without anything cushioning them from each other. I have years of training in how to properly handle artworks, which makes it painful to think of art being mishandled.

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