TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: For Stolen Saltcellar, a Cellphone Is Golden

For Stolen Saltcellar, a Cellphone Is Golden

Monty Solomon (
Sun, 29 Jan 2006 01:08:14 -0500

The New York Times
January 26, 2006

BERLIN, Jan. 25 - Advice to art thieves: never get angry and depart
from the plan. In particular, don't use a new cellphone to send a
message to the police. It may prove your undoing.

Or, at least, that was the downfall of Robert Mang, a 50-year-old
specialist in security-alarm systems who in 2003 pulled off one of the
biggest art heists in recent years: the removal of the "Saliera" (or
saltcellar), a rare gold-plated sculpture by Benvenuto Cellini, from
the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna.

After holding the Cellini masterpiece, valued at roughly $60 million,
for nearly three years and making two attempts to collect about $12
million in ransom, Mr. Mang was identified as the culprit late last
week. On Friday, the police had circulated security camera images of
him buying a cellphone that he used to send a text message.

On Saturday, after the photographs appeared on television and in
newspapers, Mr. Mang, described by police as a successful businessman
with no financial problems and no criminal record, turned himself in.
On Sunday, he led the police to a wooded area about 50 miles northeast
of Vienna where he had buried the legendary 10 inch-high sculpture
inside a lead box.

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