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Reposted from Ozarksfirst.com
More than a year after Andy Warhol soup can artwork was stolen from the Springfield Art Museum, there’s no update in the investigation. But the museum has seriously updated its security.
Some people, like regular Larry Clutter, say unseen security is making the biggest difference.
"They've obviously taken security guards who used to sit up right in the front little area, and moved them back to some area where they have a private office and I'm sure they've got umpteen more television screens and cameras,” Clutter said.
It’s something Clutter, who visits monthly, said he’s picked up on in the last year. Joshua Best, the Development and Marketing Coordinator for the Springfield Art Museum, said regulars like Clutter are sure to notice one change.
"We've also added additional gallery attendants, who are there to answer questions, that can also help monitor activity as well,” Best said.
Clutter said, “The monitors, kind of just watch you, but they're friendly and if you have a random question they'll help you with that.”
The museum also changed its hours.
"We open at 10 in the morning now instead of 9, but we're open later in the evening,” Best said. “And that extra time in the morning helps security staff go through all the procedures that they need to to get us ready to open up."
Although you probably won't see any flyers anymore, asking for information about the stolen Andy Warhol prints, that doesn't mean they've been forgotten.
"Most of those changes happened as a response to the theft last April,” Best said.
So where are the stolen Warhol soup cans now?
"People are always curious,” Best said. “Warhol is a big name. Unfortunately the case is still open."
Clutter has one theory.
"It's probably in Beijing or Seoul or Tokyo now,” Clutter said. “Fifty years from now somebody will die and then they'll discover it again."
The museum hopes to find the stolen prints sooner than that. Best wanted to remind the public that there is a reward for any information about the theft. Contact the FBI’s Kansas City Field Office to report any information.
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Reposted from The Buffalo News
In the pantheon of industrialists and philanthropists who made Buffalo a great city, A. Conger Goodyear holds a special spot.
Born here, he gained wealth and stature during the early 1900s as a railroad and lumber executive and avid art collector who owned works by Paul Cezanne, Vincent van Gogh and Paul Gauguin. When Goodyear died, his personal letters went to the Buffalo History Museum.
On Thursday, a former museum volunteer admitted to stealing some of Goodyear's letters and, with the help of an alias, trying to sell them to a collector in Manhattan.
As a result of his fraud conviction, Buffalo's Daniel Jude Witek, 54, will face a recommended sentence of up to 10 months in prison.
"You can't allow this to happen," said Michael DiGiacomo, an assistant U.S. attorney, of Witek's thefts. "Buffalo has a lot of history and heritage and we have to protect that."
Witek was arrested in 2013 after an internationally-known collector in Manhattan emailed the History Museum, inquiring if important Goodyear documents had gone missing.
A few days earlier, the collector had offered $2,750 for five Goodyear letters and postcards being offered by a man who claimed to have several more.
By most accounts, the collector's email that day was the first hint that valuable letters from the Buffalo tycoon-turned-philanthropist might have been stolen from the museum’s archives.
During an interview with The Buffalo News in 2015, more than a year after he was first charged, Witek described himself as an art history and museum collections expert.
Museum officials called him a con man.
At the time, Witek acknowledged trying to sell the Goodyear letters to the collector but said the letters were his to sell. He said the museum, because of poor oversight and record-keeping, would be hard-pressed to prove otherwise.
He also claimed some of the letters were handed down from his grandfather and that he bought the rest from a New York City gallery.
Accused in court papers of using a fake name, Walter Payne, while trying to sell the Goodyear letters, Witek told the FBI he used a false moniker because he was selling cheaper items and wanted to preserve his reputation as a high-end consultant and collector.
“I wasn’t trying to get away with anything,” he said in 2015. “I wasn’t pretending to be the Count of Monte Cristo.”
Witek, according to investigators, was able to steal the letters because of the trust he gained as a volunteer who claimed he had his own Goodyear collection.
During Thursday's court appearance, defense attorney Patrick J. Brown asked U.S. District Judge William M. Skretny to release Witek until his sentencing in November, a request the judge granted.
"I just want this to be fully satisfied and be done with," Witek, who has spent several months in custody, told Skretny.
The History Museum's thefts came at a time when museums and libraries across the world were confronting embarrassing revelations about missing letters, documents and pieces of art.
About that same time, the Boston Public Library found itself trying to explain how two works of art, valued at $630,000, were discovered missing in April and were eventually found 80 feet from where they were supposed to be. The library president resigned after an audit accused the library of failing to maintain a complete inventory of prized possessions and putting its special collections at risk.
The Goodyear papers in Buffalo are valued because of the owner's reputation as an industrialist and philanthropist. Even more noteworthy, perhaps, was that Goodyear at one point served as president of the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. Goodyear died in 1964.
Witek's guily plea is the result of an FBI and Secret Service investigation and a prosecution by DiGiacomo and Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan P. Cantil.
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Reposted from Independent
Museum has now reopened following 'chaotic' scenes
The British Museum has been evacuated amid a "security concern" after a suspicious vehicle was spotted outside the London attraction.
Families enjoying a day out at the start of the school holidays were reportedly thrown into panic when they were suddenly asked to leave.
The popular attraction said on Twitter: “The Museum is evacuated temporarily due to a security concern nearby. We apologise and will update when we can.”
Several people took to social media to describe the disruption, with one person tweeting: “I’ve just been in a British Museum evacuation and it was total chaos."
“Russell Square closed and controlled explosion has taken place. Trying to get to hotel for wedding reception,” another person tweeted.
One said: “Suspicious package in Russell Square. Roads and park cordoned off. Our offices evacuated.”
The museum has now reopened and confirmed the closure was down to a security scare.
The Metropolitian Police said the operation has now been stood down and that nothing was deemed suspicious
An international alert has been issued for a 1699 Giovanni Battista Rogeri violin - stolen in Freiburg, Germany on July 16th, 2017
An international alert has been issued today for a 1699 Giovanni Battista Rogeri violin – stolen from the Brandensteinstrasse district in Freiburg, Germany on July 16th, 2017.
The instrument, labeled ‘Rogerius Bon: Nicolai Amati … 1699’, has a one piece maple back and two piece spruce medium grain front.
It is 34.8cm in length – and 16cm and 19.7cm in width.
At the time of the robbery, the violin was contained in a small grey GEWA case – also containing a modern and a baroque violin bow.
If you have any information please urgently contact +31 610361092 or Freiburg Police.
Please share widely.
Click here to see photos
Re-posted from Washington Post (07/10/17)
Last month, attackers using a vehicle and knives killed eight people and wounded dozens more on London Bridge. Over a couple weeks later in an incident nearby, a man drove into people leaving mosques after Ramadan services, killing one and injuring 10.
And in May, a man driving in New York’s Times Square plowed into a crowd during lunchtime, killing one person and injuring 22. While authorities said the incident was not terrorism, the Islamic State, inspired by the crash, used it to warn that more attacks on the nation’s largest city and popular tourist destination would follow.
As terrorists overseas increasingly turn to vehicles as weapons, cities across the United States, concerned such attacks could happen here, are ramping up security in public spaces to protect areas with heavy pedestrian traffic.
“There’s unfortunately almost no end to the number of times these things happen by accident and, unfortunately, it is increasing the number of times these things are happening on purpose,” said Rob Reiter, a pedestrian safety expert and chief security consultant at Calpipe Security Bollards, one of the nation’s top bollard manufacturers.
Bollards and security barriers, as well as increased police presence at events, are among some of the strategies cities are using to guard against such attacks. In Las Vegas, Nev., 700 bollards are being installed along the Las Vegas Strip this year at a cost of $5 million in what has been called “a matter of life and death” to protect innocent bystanders from deliberate acts to use vehicles as weapons. Although there is no specific threat, authorities said recent terrorist propaganda featuring snapshots of the Las Vegas Boulevard cannot be overlooked. Each barrier is designed to resist a 15,000-pound, 30-foot vehicle, officials said.
In New York, officials have been calling for the installation of more bollards, citing the ones that stopped the speeding sedan in the May incident. The Los Angeles City Council, meanwhile, will vote this summer on whether to direct the police department and other agencies to issue a report on mitigation methods for vehicle attacks.
Transportation planners are exploring innovative ways to use landscaping to create buffers between roadways and sidewalks. Security companies say they are being consulted on how to protect main streets.
“Big cities are realizing that they could have a mass casualty event on all four sides of an intersection at any time,” Reiter said.
Attacks with vehicles used as improvised weapons became the single most lethal form of attack in Western countries for the first time last year, according to the London-based Risk Advisory Group, which keeps track of every terrorist attack worldwide. Just over half of all the terrorism-related deaths in the West were the result of vehicle-ramming attacks, the data show.
In the most deadly one, in Nice, France, a truck mowed down dozens of people celebrating Bastille Day last July, killing 87 and injuring 434. On Dec. 19, 12 people were killed and 56 injured when a man drove a truck into a Christmas market in Berlin.
In the United States, a man inspired by the Islamic State drove into students at Ohio State University last fall, then emerged with a knife, injuring 11 people.
Experts say Europe will probably continue to experience such attacks because of the ease with which they can be carried out. As countries have stepped up security and counterterrorism efforts, terrorists have found it more difficult to strike using traditional means. It is easier to rent a truck than to acquire explosives or firearms without raising suspicion.
“It is much more nebulous. It is much more spontaneous,” said Henry Wilkinson, director of intelligence analysis for the Risk Advisory Group, which keeps track of terrorist attacks and provides security assessments for large events.
Views are mixed on the risk of such attacks in the United States, where so far there has been only one terrorism-related vehicle attack.
“Obviously, the United States has invested huge sums of money and time and resources into its counterterrorism program and the scale of intelligence collection and training and other things reduces the threat significantly,” Wilkinson said.
The availability of firearms in the United States makes it more likely that would be the weapon of choice, he said.
A Canadian man who yelled the Arabic phrase “Allahu akbar” before allegedly stabbing an airport police officer in Flint, Mich., last month was indicted Wednesday on charges of committing an act of violence at an international airport and interfering with airport security, in what authorities say was a possible act of terrorism. But most acts of terror on U.S. soil, including several domestic terrorist attacks, have involved firearms and explosives. The 2015 San Bernardino, Calif., terrorist attack, which killed 14 people and injured more than 20, was a mass shooting.
“If someone was inclined to go and carry out a terrorist attack, it seems more logical that one would use the effective way of carrying out that attack, and if given choice between using a car and a machine gun, you will probably use a machine gun,” Wilkinson said.
Still, U.S. law enforcement officials say the threat of such attacks is real. In an advisory issued in May, the Transportation Security Administration alerted the nation’s trucking companies about the rising risk of rental trucks and hijackings and thefts for purposes of such an attack. The agency urged vigilance as terrorist groups continue to employ the less sophisticated tactics, which can be carried out with minimal planning and training, but have potential to inflict mass casualties.
“No community, large or small, rural or urban, is immune to attacks of this kind by organized or ‘lone wolf’ terrorists,” the TSA report said.
From 2014 through April of this year, terrorists carried out 17 vehicle ramming attacks, killing 173 people and injuring 667, the report said. While the statistics represent only a fraction of all casualties from terrorist attacks worldwide, the potential for mass casualties and difficulty for law enforcement in planning for or preventing such attacks makes them attractive for would-be terrorists.
In the 1990s, barriers were designed to protect from car bombs after the 1998 vehicle bombings at U.S. embassies in East Africa. The use of barriers, such as bollards, skyrocketed after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks as officials sought to protect federal buildings and increase security at potential targets, such as airports and stadiums.
The latest threat has cities in Europe, Australia and North America making new investments, from barriers along a number of bridges across the River Thames in London to retractable bollards in the tourist area of Surfers Paradise in eastern Australia. Vehicle barriers along roads around the All England club were among the enhanced security measures surrounding Wimbledon this week.
In Washington, D.C., which is filled with high-profile targets as the nation’s capital, law enforcement officials would not discuss specific tactics, but acknowledged that they are pursuing various means to protect pedestrians, including the installation of more bollards on city streets.
“We are always trying to stay a step ahead of these terrorists,” Assistant D.C. Police Chief Jeffery Carroll said.
A visitor to the 14th Factory in Los Angeles, California, caused $200,000 worth of damage when she knocked over a display while attempting to take a selfie a few weeks ago.
According to the museum, three sculptures were "permanently damaged" in the incident.
The whole thing was captured on security cameras, and later shared to LiveLeak. In the clip, a woman can be seen crouching in front of a row of sculptures placed on pedestals, presumably trying to take a selfie. She loses her balance, and knocks the pedestal directly behind her over, which then in turn creates a domino effect, knocking over at least 10 pedestals topped with art.
The gallery is described as a "monumental, multiple-media, socially engaged art and documentary experience conceived by the Hong Kong-based British artist Simon Birch."
This is probably not the social engagement they were looking for.
EHS Today (06/13/17) Hart, JayRepublished from Security Management Daily - June 22, 2017
More often than not, active threat training is the elephant in the room. Everyone has seen or heard of incidents, but are reluctant to take the steps toward mitigation.
The reasons may vary from believing it'll make employees more fearful than empowered to worrying the training might not be "right" for the team. However, looking the other way is not a solution to any problem, much less one with harmful consequences.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, about 5 percent of all businesses experience an instance of workplace violence each year. For larger organizations with over 1,000 employees, this rate is increased 10-fold to 50 percent. A 2014 report from the FBI found active shooter incidents in the United States now occur on an average of once a month. Of these incidents almost (45.6 percent) occurred at a business while nearly one quarter (24.4 percent) occurred at Pre-K-to-12 schools and institutions of higher learning.
Although active threats and the environments where they take place can vary from incident to incident, the common threads found throughout can be woven together to create the fabric of an effective and successful safety program.
The following are lessons learned gleaned from past experience that businesses can use as tools for building a solid foundation for a safety-minded workplace:
The aforementioned statistics illustrate an increasing probability of an active threat incident, making it less-an-if and more a "when." Unfortunately, violence doesn't discriminate on where it takes place, so the entire enterprise – be it headquarters, warehouse or storefront – should be involved in preventative measures.
Breaking through the barrier of apprehension begins with a holistic approach: one team, one goal. Leadership should evaluate the type of training that fits with their organization's culture, articulate the vital importance of such training to employees and clearly explain how the training will be implemented.
Violence seldom is a cookie cutter affair and as such, a "one-size-fits-all" approach likely is an ineffective solution. Conversely, having too many threat-specific responses can be confusing, if not outright dangerous. While different threats do warrant varying responses, a series of "stovepipe" procedures can cripple a person with tunnel vision during a high-stress scenario.
All active threat response plans should be built upon the same principles; so, even if the minute details are lost in the heat of the moment, team members still can make informed decisions to ensure their safety and that of others. Streamlining processes encourages a quick implementation and retention of information. Knowledge increases confidence, confidence increases decisiveness and it is decisive action in a critical incident that saves lives.
A fortunate trend stemming from unfortunate roots is a movement for companies to get ahead of the curve of active threat response. For better or worse, increased exposure of violence in the workplace means it no longer is an abstract concept but rather an issue thrust into the forefront.
A strategy based on hoping nothing happens and performing damage control is a folly that irreparably can destroy a brand, in addition to the obvious harm inflicted upon person and property.
An effective response plan doesn't begin when the incident occurs, but as soon as training can be conducted. Empowering employees with tools on how to identify and communicate to leadership possible high-risk indicators such as signs of growing anger, depression or erratic behavior can be just as, if not more effective as decisive action during an active threat.
A cohesive "one-team" mindset supported by a response plan based on fundamentals and foresight cannot take place without clear communication before, during and after a critical incident. The language plays a critical role in an active threat response program and can dictate the program's success or failure. Such language should be consistent with current policies and procedures so the program is both effective and legally defensible.
Each company will need to tailor its active threat response plan to fit its culture and workplace environment. Thankfully, a simple concept utilized by premier agencies already exists so organizations may build a clear and coherent plan: "Run, Hide, Defend."
Communication during a critical incident is by no means limited to employees, but extends to customer interaction as well. How a company communicates around and with customers during an active threat incident can play a vital role in minimizing harm and mitigating supplemental harm as a result of panic.
Every active threat mitigation plan should include an emergency communication strategy that may contain one or two common components; the first is the use of a code like "Code Adam," alerting employees to a specific issue while customers and vendors remain unaware of any possible issues. The second option is to use "plain English," so that everyone quickly gains situational awareness. For example, instead of using "Code Red" for an active shooter incident, the alert would announce there is an active shooter situation in progress so employees, customers and vendors can take decisive actions to seek safety.
Every active threat situation will unfold differently, especially since external factors such as the weather, type of environment and other variables can present unpredictable outcomes. By being proactive over what that can be controlled – such as implementing sound training strategies – companies can be prepared for and respond to an active threat to the best of its ability. Through the empowerment of its most valuable assets – its people – companies can mitigate risks, protect the safety of its employees, customers and community.
As the director of Force Training Institute, Jay Hart leads a team of first responders, anti-terrorism, cybersecurity, defensive tactics and crisis management specialists with vast cumulative experience and expertise in safety and security. He also is a police lieutenant for one of the largest municipal police departments in Los Angeles County and has testified as an expert in law enforcement training, policies, procedures and use of force issues. With over a decade of SWAT experience, Hart is in charge of his agency's Use of Force, Active Shooter, and Firearms training programs.
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