Man Charged in Goya Theft

Steven Lee Olson has been charged under the Federal major art theft statute for last year’s theft and recovery of Francisco de Goya’s Children With a Cart. Here’s an excerpt of the AP story:

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — A truck driver who stole an art masterpiece from an unattended transport truck, then claimed he found it in his basement was charged with theft, authorities said.

Steven Lee Olson, 49, was charged with stealing “Children with a Cart,” a 1778 painting by famed Spanish artist Francisco de Goya, federal prosecutors said Wednesday. The painting was insured at a value of about $1 million.

In an initial appearance in federal court in Newark on Wednesday, Olson through his lawyer decided not to immediately contest his detainment. A bail hearing was scheduled for Oct. 31.

The federal public defender representing Olson didn’t immediately return a phone message. A message left at a number listed for Olson also wasn’t immediately returned.

The painting was being trucked to the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York City from Ohio’s Toledo Museum of Art last November. It was stolen as the transport drivers spent the night at a Pennsylvania motel. They discovered it missing the next morning.

Within days, Olson contacted federal authorities through an attorney to say he found the painting in his basement, said U.S Attorney’s office spokesman Michael Drewniak.

After a lengthy investigation, authorities determined that Olson, a self-employed truck driver, had lifted the piece himself, Drewniak said.

“It was a crime of opportunity that didn’t pay,” FBI agent Sandra Carroll said.

I’m traveling to Washington D.C. today so I don’t have time to post much substantive thought on this, but I am struck by how much more coverage this charge and arrest has received here in the US than the recovery and and subsequent arrests arising from the recovery of da Vinci’s Madonna of the Yarnwinder a few weeks ago in a Glasgow law firm’s offices.

Questions or Comments? Email me at derek.fincham@gmail.com

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *