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Innovation

What is the third highest grossing criminal trade?

Here's a clue: It's not drugs or arms, but you can find the answer at an exhibit in Washington this month.
Written by Melanie D.G. Kaplan, Inactive on

Last month I wrote about the FBI’s Art Theft Program. This month, it’s time to see art crime artifacts up close.

Art crimes make up the third most costly criminal area in the United States ($6 billion), just behind the drug and arms trades, according to the National Museum of Crime & Punishment in Washington. This month, the museum has teamed up with the Association for Research into Crimes against Art to create a temporary exhibit about art crimes, called Uncovering the Dark Arts: Thieves, Forgers and Tomb Raiders.

Part of the exhibit is dedicated to the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum heist, a 20-year-old unsolved case of the largest property crime in U.S. history.

The exhibit, which runs until April 26, showcases forgeries that you might mistake for Matisse or Modigliani. You can also see a collection of exotic looted items from other countries (dating back to the year 1050) and some “guilt letters,” from looters who later regretted their actions. (Guilt letters? Will we one day see an exhibit of those from Wall Street thieves and philandering politicians?)

Click here to read my post on the FBI’s Art Theft Program.

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

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