Brutes with iPhones steal art, antiques and beat vicar

"The Grand Canal and the Church of the Salute" by Canaletto, 1730, Museum of Fine Arts, HoustonOn January 3rd, two vicious brutes broke into a retired vicar’s house in County Armagh, Northern Ireland, beat him up and tied him to a chair, then stole the most valuable pieces from his collection of paintings and antique furniture as selected by a knowledgeable accomplice via iPhone. Before leaving they destroyed the rest of the art and antiques with a hatchet.

Authorities are keeping mum on the details while the investigation is ongoing — the vicar’s name is not being released because he is terrified of drawing attention to himself — but we know that among the stolen pieces are paintings by 18th-century Venetian master Canaletto. The total value of the stolen works is well into the millions of dollars. No word on what the rest of the vicar’s collection was worth before they took a hatchet to it, but he’s been an avid collector and a fixture at auctions for decades.

A source said: “This robbery was well-planned and ruthlessly executed. They had possibly been watching the house for months, watching the major art sales where the victim was well known.[...]

The Irish Daily Mirror understands the two men worked with a third party to assist them with the robbery. A source said: “They were on the phone to someone outside the house and from what I understand they used a hi-tech phone to show the third party which pieces were in the house.

They wanted to know which were most valuable because those are the ones that were stolen. There was a lot taken, an awful lot.

“This was a horrendous experience for the victim and it was carefully planned and executed.”

The thieves also stole the victim’s contact books which had personal information about a number of other high end art collectors, including scions of the Guinness family and Edward Haughey, Baron Ballyedmond, the richest man in Northern Ireland. All the people in the book have been alerted to the theft and advised to increase their security.

Two similar thefts took place in the same county two years ago. The Police Service of Northern Ireland and Ireland’s national police force, An Garda Siochana, are investigating any connection between the crimes.

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15 Comments »

Comment by knowsmell
2012-01-23 06:55:25

Really horrendous. Why would they destroy the remains. Sick minds.

Unrelated, I’m not sure I know what a vicar is in this context. If a priest, how does a priest acquire this much wealth?

Comment by livius drusus
2012-01-23 13:46:45

A vicar is an Anglican priest. They were originally defined as receiving a smaller tithe portion than rectors, but those sorts of distinctions evaporated in Victorian times. They don’t have to make vows of chastity of poverty like Catholic priests, and from what I understand, the victim of this horrendous crime is independently wealthy. He chose to make vicaring his life’s work out of religious feeling.

 
 
Comment by doolb rimy
2012-01-23 10:01:31

Horrendous.

IIRC, a vicar is a lay pastor hired to administer a church in a rural area.

 
Comment by knowsmell
2012-01-23 21:07:16

thanks

 
Comment by Mike
2012-01-25 12:30:39

The end result of generations of socialism and its doctrine of disrespect and selfishness.

Comment by livius drusus
2012-01-25 12:43:16

Oh so returning stolen property to its owners is socialism now? Your paternalistic ethos that would pick and choose who gets to keep the things they own is far closer to Stalinism than to whatever capitalist utopia you think you’re shilling for.

 
 
Comment by Mike
2012-01-25 12:46:06

As always, a liberal defends the indefensible. Go divide the remaining loot with your friends, why don’t you?

Comment by livius drusus
2012-01-25 12:49:53

I’m not the one advocating that stolen property be kept by the thieves and fences. That’s your bag, baby.

 
 
Comment by LadyShea
2012-01-26 11:08:53

What is this I don’t even…How is Socialism to blame for art robbery?

That’s pretty Libertarian actually, he who can get it gets to keep it, regardless of the means of acquirement.

From a Capitalist standpoint, someone’s private property that they paid for was stolen by non bootstrappers looking for free shit.

 
Comment by Edward Goldberg
2012-01-26 15:49:28

That’s terrific, Mike! You have inside information regarding the motives, background and political orientation of those who perpetrated this dastardly crime. It sounds like a major breakthrough which might crack the case! I trust that you already shared your insights with the Royal Ulster Constabulary? I think it’s called “assisting the police with their enquiries”.

Comment by livius drusus
2012-01-26 16:56:46

:lol:

 
 
Comment by Demimonde
2012-01-26 22:10:52

I audibly gasped when I read that the thieves destroyed the rest of his collection. That must have been terrifying and tortuous for the victim.

The destruction coupled with the knowledgeable third party makes me think an unscrupulous rival collector is a possible perpetrator.

Either that or I have watched too much Lovejoy.

Comment by livius drusus
2012-01-26 22:25:04

He would have to be Bond villain levels of unscrupulous, but it’s certainly possible. I suspect a collector would just take everything rather than take the most valuable and destroy the rest, because collectors usually covet the object, not the money it’s worth.

Honestly, had I been the vicar, I would hope for unconsciousness to spare me having to watch the wanton destruction of my collection.

 
 
Comment by Demimonde
2012-01-26 22:50:06

I am sure you are right that most collectors would indeed prize the object rather than the money. The story still reads like a scene from Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels to me.

I just can’t imagine someone needlessly destroying things without some kind of motive. Like perhaps the increase in the value of their own collection if other’s were destroyed? If the other crimes are related and someone is putting “hits” out on other collectors that would indeed be Bond villain material.

 
Comment by Gworthmore
2012-03-08 05:59:05

Mike…you’re a jackass.

 
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