According to two distinguished art experts, many shady art dealers have figured out that Canada is a very easy place to avoid prosecution while unloading stolen merchandise. In a comment he made concerning the recent recovery of a sculpture by Henry Moore, and a Paul Klee painting, Joshua Knelman – an award-winning arts writer and investigative journalist – attributed the rampant art robberies to the complete lack of specialist art theft investigators presently employed by the Toronto Police Department.
In Knelman’s book about the international cultural black market, which is titled Hot Art, he explains that the victims of these Canadian thefts don’t have many choices when it comes to finding help in their situations. He mentions the option of reporting it to the Interpol office in Ottawa, but asserts that the said organization is not composed of active officers, but merely an army of data-bank tellers. He recommends getting everything registered with the ART Loss Register (ALR) and Canada customs, since that route somehow recovered the Moore and the Klee pieces.
But, detection is very difficult in a world where stolen art naturally changes hands (whether it’s sold or inherited) – over the years; therefore, someone thought it better to rely on the integrity of dealers and brokers, instead of regulating a currently unregulated system, which has been running rampant for the past decades.
Fortunately, now that every sneaky art thief is swimming for the shores of Canada, somebody has noticed that need for some security.