Monday, January 19, 2004


Five small eighteenth century ivory statues were stolen from the Art Gallery of Ontario on Saturday afternoon. The sculptures, valued at $1.5 million, were on display as part of the private collection of media mogul and art collector Kenneth Thomson.

I found this detail of the story confounding:

Five ivory statues, created in the early 1700s, were discovered missing from a display case in the gallery just after 3 yesterday afternoon. At 4:30 p.m. patrons were told that the gallery was closing immediately.

Immediately? It took 90 minutues between discovering the statues were missing and making the decision to close the gallery early? Were they hoping the things just slipped under the rug and that they would turn up later? I imagine that by 4:30 the theives were long gone.

Update, 12:12, 1/19/04 - A more extensive article on this story is in today's Star. It explicitly acknowledges the confounding (to me) detail I already highlighted but does nothing to explain it.

The pieces were discovered missing about 3 p.m. Saturday and 90 minutes later patrons were told the gallery was closing immediately.

Again, why did it take so long to make the decision to close the gallery? I'm not necessarily suggesting some kind of incompetence on behalf of the AGO (although a theft in itself suggests some). Nor am I necessarily suggesting some kind of nefarious inside operation (although it may be a possibility). There could be a simple explanation for why it took the gallery 90 minutes to decide to close; I'm just interested in what that reason is and why the news articles don't think such a delay is an issue.

Posted by Matthew @ 2:26 a.m.