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Art thief seeks statue resale 'to cover expenses'

Peter Vinthagen Simpson · 10 May 2009, 10:39

Published: 10 May 2009 10:39 GMT+02:00

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"It has not gone that well so far. We don't have the money that they want," said Peter Kauranen at Malmö Rowing Club to local newspaper Sydsvenskan.

"The thief has realized that the statue is so well known that it can't be sold at auction. Now he wants to be compensated for 'his expenses'," Kauranen told the newspaper.

The statue, "The Indian" or "Spirit of Transportation" by Carl Milles, was donated to the club by Malmö council in the 1960s and from 1972 until last November sat outside the club's premises.

The theft was reported to the police but the case has now been closed.

The statue has a sentimental value to the club which is reported to be short of funds to finance its return as their premises are undergoing a costly renovation.

Story continues below…

The statue is an approved replica of an original sculpture by the celebrated Swedish artist Carl Milles which was created for the Civic Centre in Detroit, USA in 1954.

The statue was not however unveiled at its Detroit home until 1960, after Milles had agreed to a modification to meet the demands of the city's mayor - to preserve the statue's modesty by adding a loin-cloth to cover the genitals.

Peter Vinthagen Simpson (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

16:38 May 10, 2009 by DStrope
make a deal with him, get it back, and then arrest him.
20:26 May 10, 2009 by freethinker
Amazing...lol now criminals are asking to be compensated by the victems when the crime does not go as planed. I can picture it now...lol A thief in court explains to a judge that the security system was too hard to get around, and the alarm system too good. "I lost my equiptment, and noise from the alarm caused me to see a doctor for my nerves, and I demand the victem compensate me in the amount of...." Does anyone else find this incomprehensible? Where are the police while these negotiations are taking place? "Hello" authorities if the criminals are communicating with the victems.....have you heard of tracing a line...hmmm..... Ello.....knock knock...anyone home in there....geesh go get the criminals.
21:50 May 10, 2009 by Roger O. Thornhill
This type of stuff happens in the USA. Maybe the cops should look for an American.
07:21 May 11, 2009 by Tennin
What a joke. The thief wants compensation for not being able to steal the stolen item. Wow!!! This guy should be arrested for his crime, and for being a complete jerk for demanding compensation. Technically he's holding the statue hostage for demanding money and not returning it until doing so.

What ever happened to the thief realizing he did something stupid, and simply returning it.
14:43 May 11, 2009 by dtes
you say this happens in america? i was thinking this is rather swedish, Mr roger thornhill, you watch way too much tv!
14:48 May 11, 2009 by Princess P
I thought that this was a fairly common practise amongst art theives. They steal something and then sell it back to the insurance company for a lot less than the insurance company would have to pay out otherwise.

Of course I may have imagined this.
15:44 May 11, 2009 by Inletwatcher
I remember when they stole the Ronald Mcdonald statue from the eatery up the road from my old house. A few years later it ended up in someone's garden.

Why can't they do a sting and do the cop thing and catch them. Lazy.

06:28 May 12, 2009 by freethinker
Inletwatcher, does Sweden have a Duncan Doughnuts shop? here in the States cops seem to love hanging out there, so maybe the Swedish Police are filling up on sugary goodness too?

I hope the thief or thieves don't get away with it. Lot's of sillyness will follow if they do. here in the US it's quite possible for a thief to break into a home, and fall down hurting him/herself in the process and end up sueing the owner for any injuries. I hope Sweden has the sence to avoid that.
08:17 May 12, 2009 by Inletwatcher
No Duncans do I smell, nor Krispy Kream!! Ohh I remember when you saw the red light on the outside of the building, that ment that they were coming out of the oven.

The cops here, from what I have personally seen **I used to live 1/2 block from the copshop.. they stay in their clubhouse and hang out. I in the 4 years of being here have seen 2 cars pulled over. Okay maybe 3.
08:33 May 12, 2009 by freethinker
WoW, guess it's a leadfoot's dream there...lol
08:39 May 12, 2009 by Roger O. Thornhill
I don't understand your comment. What does TV have to do with my comment?

You also mistated what I wrote. I wrote that this "type" of thing happens in US not this exact same thing.

I give you an example. Something called "Castle Doctrine" laws are sweeping the country (state level). Essentially what they have in common is that if one feels threatened with great bodily harm or death, or to save someone else from same, one can shoot your attacker and the government has to prove that it was not self defense. The applicable part to our discussion is that the law also prevents civil claims against you by your attacker or survivors. Each state with the this law has its own variation.

The similarity with the Swedish situation- compensation for injury during the commission of a crime; in the Swedish case monetary expenses during the commission of a crime, in the above, compensation for physical injury during the commission of a crime.

You weren't referring to the movie "Liar, Liar" with Jim Carrey? If I recall, in that movie his secretary had to pay a judgement against her to someone who was injured while robbing her.

The reason it was in the movie was to reflect the absurdity of what actually happens in the US legal system.
10:15 May 12, 2009 by Plowbridge H. Broad
It is indeed quite common for this to happen regardless of the country. Not all art is stolen to order and where possible Insurance companies are quite willing to pay out a lesser fee to retrieve a piece rather than the full insured valuation. It makes sound economic sense.
10:23 May 12, 2009 by Eric Cantona
Providing insight to the intricacies of theft. Who'd have thought it?
11:50 May 12, 2009 by fielding
The more important question I think is why is the figure in the statue carrying the canoe like that? Seems like a really awkward way to portage . . .
17:38 May 12, 2009 by dnynas
I am not a lawyer but, I am not aware of any real case in the US where a thief successfully sued a homeowner for their injuries. Except where the owner directly injured the thief (set a trap or intentionally wounded). Please don't mock the US legal system with folklore. Just because it sounds plausible, it doesn't mean that it is real!

And people wonder why European's think the US is a bunch of backward hicks.
18:51 May 12, 2009 by Roger O. Thornhill
Thank you for citing your ignorance. It is noted

If you don't know, find out. Always good advice.
19:42 May 12, 2009 by Braderunner Rennuredarb
There are a few cases in the US where a thief has sued their victim and won. Personally - I think its disgusting that a thief can sue for injuries or costs derived in or from the planning, execution, and/or completion of a crime.

I had to educate my wife about "Castle Doctrine" and how it would apply if someone was to break into our house. She was shocked that, if we feared for our safety (and who would not fear for their safety if some jackhole busted into your house), that it was legal for one of us to shoot an intruder. Of course, if you shoot, you dont shoot to wound like they do on TV or in the movies.
20:04 May 12, 2009 by Roger O. Thornhill
These are state by state laws. If you are in the US, it is a must to know what your state law reads.

(attached image not shown)
20:23 May 12, 2009 by Braderunner Rennuredarb
GA is a Castle Doctrine state - I know that!
07:02 May 13, 2009 by freethinker
Agreed. I lived in Maryland for many years, and in that State there are no self defense laws. If you shoot an intruder in the middle of the night you just might be asked..." why didn't you just leave?" Some states are alike that.

Now I live in Michigan. Someone comes into your home here, and you can shoot them. Best to shoot to kill.

If you live in a State with no self defense laws...best to be judged by 12 than carried by 6. Just my opinion.

Out of curiosity does Sweden make allowances for self defense, or do crinmals have the right to do anything to a victem?
16:28 May 14, 2009 by dnynas
Bladerunner and Roger or anyone for that matter. You keep insisting there is a case where the thief successfully sued the homeowner for injuries, that were not due to a trap or intentional.

If you are so certain that there is a case please reference it...

Or, If you want to save time I can tell you that there are none. The cases where a thief won are where a homeowner set a dangerous trap (real example: shotgun pointed at open window, rigged to a trip wire) or the homeowner chased down the fleeing thief and injured them. Hardly cases where the homeowner was completely innocent.

Again, folklore and wives' tales make you seem like a fool. The US judicial system is not perfect but, it does work.
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