Interview with FBI art crimes lead Tim Carpenter

These crimes always fascinate me, and there’s a lot going on in this interview.

“Pick your favorite museum anywhere in the country, and say they had a heist today, and somebody stole a $30 million painting. That’s a traditional criminal case, right? I don’t want to say it’s run of the mill, but it’s a traditional case. We’re going to do the crime scene, we’re going to collect the evidence, we’re going to interview witnesses, we’re going to do all of those things that you would expect criminal investigators to do. It’s a simple whodunit.

I will tell you this, particularly about theft cases: what makes them a little bit different than a traditional criminal case is what we’re trying to recover. In some instances, we might be recovering an original Modigliani or an original da Vinci piece or a Rodin or whatever it might be. So for us, and I know a lot of my law enforcement colleagues cringe when I say this, but for us, in the art theft program, arresting the bad guys is really secondary. Our first and primary focus is the safe recovery of the artwork.”

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