Catalogued, admired and stolen

01 Oct 2011 9:40 AM | Anonymous

Catalogued, admired and stolen
reviewed by iris nowell
From Saturday's Globe and Mail
Published Friday, Sep. 30, 2011

An art thief named Paul (no last name, yet) provided Joshua Knelman with an overview of art theft during a three-year period beginning in early 2008 in Brighton, England. Paul’s thieving ways present a knowledgeable link to this shadowy subject that Knelman relates in the thief’s deadpan, quirky Brit humour spiked occasionally with crude street talk.

Paul learned his trade as a teenager in Brighton from “knockers.” Born poor in England’s vacation spot of the wealthy, he had only one chance to live like them, and that was to steal from them. Hence he “joined the fraternity of knockers,” petty thieves who knock on doors offering a pound or two for granny’s old glass beads, or a thief may con his way inside and snag a painting off the wall. He then scurries off to one of the numerous antique dealers on Brighton’s famous Lanes where a dealer buys the stolen loot and sells it to an unsuspecting collector.

Soon Paul was paying knockers to steal for him, which after 15 years ranked him as a “major handler of millions of dollars of stolen art and antiquities.”

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