- 3 July 2008
Carabinieri find tabernacle thanks to "100 Missing Objects. Looting in Europe"
ICOM and the Carabinieri Cultural Heritage Protection Unit (C.C.-T.C.P.) of Ancona, give notice of the seizure of a gilt wooden tabernacle, listed on the page 90 of the publication One Hundred Missing Objects. Looting in Europe (ICOM, 2001). This liturgical object which had been stolen on 5 July 1996 from the church of San Antiono Abate, in the province of Amatrice (Italy), was found during a house search carried out by the Carabinieri at a private residence in March 2008.
The Carabinieri Unit had been investigating the case since an individual lodged a complaint for a housebreaking in February 2008. During a search in a warehouse in the province of Ascoli Piceno on 11 March 2008, the Carabinieri seized 37 cultural objects that had been identified as stemming from the robbery. As they entered the photographs of these objects in the database "Banca dati dei ben culturali illecitamente sottratti", they found matches for three paintings which had been stolen in the early 1990's in three different Italian provinces. Then the Carabinieri carried out a second search, at the complainant's residence. The photographs they took enabled them to identify the tabernacle as well as some other cultural objects, most of them illicitly removed from churches.
The recovery of the tabernacle vouches for the usefulness of the ICOM publications One Hundred Missing Objects which list artworks and cultural objects that have been reported as missing to national law enforcement authorities and Interpol departments. Each artefact appearing in the publication is illustrated with a photograph along with a short description and the registration number on the Interpol Database of Stolen Works of Art. To date, the One Hundred Missing Objects publications have already helped to restore several cultural objects to their legal owners.
The Carabinieri are the Italian military police force. They have been in charge of the protection of the Italian cultural heritage since 1969 (follow the link: http://www.carabinieri.it/Internet/Cittadino/Informazioni/Tutela/Patrimonio+Culturale).
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