Friday, July 11, 2008

Score One for the Good Guys

Yesterday in Miami federal court, Bernard Jean Ternus -- a French national living in a suburb of Fort Lauderdale -- pleaded guilty to conspiring to sell stolen art. He thought he was making a $4.7 million deal...but his 'clients' were undercover FBI agents and French police. Whoops! The four paintings in question were stolen in August 2007 during a masked & armed robbery at the Musée des Beaux-Arts in Nice: Monet's "Cliffs Near Dieppe," Alfred Sisley's "The Lane of Poplars at Moret," and two allegorical paintings by 17th century Flemish artist Jan Breughel the Younger.

Months of police work and faux-negotiations between the undercover agents and Ternus took place before the cops pounced. The artwork was recovered on June 4, 2008 in Marseille: when the 'purchase' was supposed to happen, French police arrested two other people and found the paintings undamaged in a van. You can read more about the story and possible consequences for Ternus here.

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