Published: October 30, 2007
The Toledo Museum of Art recently announced that an arrest has been made in the case of the 2006 theft of the museum’s Francisco de Goya y Lucientes painting, “Children with a Cart,” 1778.
A release about the arrest was issued on October 24 by the US Department of Justice, US Attorney, District of New Jersey. A Bergen County man was arrested on October 23 on an indictment charging him with stealing the Francisco de Goya painting “Children with a Cart” last year, US Attorney Christopher J. Christie announced.
Steven Lee Olson, 49, was arrested at his home in Carlstadt by special agents of the FBI Violent Crimes/Interstate Theft Task Force. Olson was expected to make an initial appearance before US Magistrate Judge Patty Shwartz.
According to the indictment, Olson stole “Children with a Cart” on November 8, 2006, as it was in transit to New York City from the Toledo Museum of Art.
The Toledo Museum of Art owned the painting and at the time of the theft insured it for more than $1 million. The Toledo Museum had shipped the painting with a professional art transporter, and Olson allegedly stole the painting off the back of a truck. The painting was recovered by the FBI and returned unharmed in early January 2007 to the Toledo Museum of Art, where it is part of the permanent collection.
“The FBI is proud to announce this arrest,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Weysan Dun. “It is not every day that a theft like this occurs. Our agents have been working diligently to bring this case to this point, even after the valuable painting was recovered.”
Olson is charged in the indictment with theft of an object of cultural heritage from a museum, which carries a maximum penalty of ten years in prison and a $250,000 fine. In determining an actual sentence, the judge to whom the case is assigned would, upon a conviction, consult the advisory US sentencing guidelines, which provide appropriate sentencing ranges that take into account the severity and characteristics of the offense, the defendant’s criminal history, if any, and other factors.
The judge, however, is not bound by those guidelines in determining a sentence. Parole has been abolished in the federal system. Defendants who are given custodian terms must serve nearly all that time.
Despite the indictment, the defendant is presumed innocent unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
“Our number one concern in this matter was the safe return of the painting, which has been on view in Gallery 28A since its return,” said Dr Don Bacigalupi, director of the Toledo Museum of Art. “It is satisfying to learn that an arrest has been made, and we commend the FBI and the US Attorney’s office for their diligent investigation.”
The museum is at 2445 Monroe Street at Scottwood Avenue, just west of the downtown business district. For information, 419-255-8000, 800-644-6862 or www.toledomuseum.org .
See related story at www.antiquesandthearts.com/Antiques/TradeTalk/2007-01-16__08-52-48.html
5 Church Hill Road / Newtown, CT 06470
Mon - Fri / 8:00 am - 5:01 pm