Art: It's A Steal

The world's cultural heritage is being looted by thieves who often have ties to organized crime -- and even get help from the art world

-- During the night of Feb. 2-3, 1990, masked men surprised six unarmed guards watching a storeroom in Herculaneum, ancient Pompeii's bedfellow in fate when Mount Vesuvius erupted in A.D. 79. After breaking through a wall, the thieves took four hours to select 223 of the most precious antiquities, as if they had a dealer's catalog in hand. Estimated value: $18 million. None of the relics have resurfaced.

-- On March 18, 1990, two thieves disguised as policemen entered Boston's Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, trussed up two guards and made off with a king's ransom: three Rembrandts, five paintings by Degas,...

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