Robbery at Venice a "Security Manager" needed!
Jewels disappeared at the Doge's Palace, security systems in accusation
Robbery at Doge's Palace in Venice: a Security Manager needed!
Gorgeous jewels were stolen from a case in the Treasures of the Mughals and Maharajas exhibition at the Doge's Palace in Venice on the morning of 3 jenuary 2018. But this was no Ocean’s Eleven-style hi-tech heist. No men in black balaclavas were lowered on wires in the dead of night to avoid laser beams or motion sensors.
The technique apparently consisted of one person standing between the CCTV cameras and his/her accomplice, who opened easily the glass case, without breaking it. Although, according to police chief Vito Gagliardi, the thieves seem to have been sufficiently technically savvy to delay the triggering of the alarm. The room was crammed with visitors wanting to see the collection on its final day. The two or more robbers melted into the crowds, and by the time the theft was spotted and the building locked down, they and their loot had disappeared.
The Venice Police Chief has called in specialists from Rome and declared, perhaps unnecessarily, that: "It is essential to understand what went wrong with the security systems." A shortage of security guards is believed to have been one of the things that went wrong, contributing to the ease with which the thieves made their getaway.
There is no doubt that the Doge’s Palace, or Palazzo Ducale, is “a stunning and ethereal backdrop”, as its website says. But the theft is an embarrassment. Venice had boasted that it was the first city in Italy to host the travelling exhibition. It is also the first to lose any pieces from a show that has already travelled to New York, London, Koka in Japan, and Paris. The city’s Civic Museums Foundation was quick to go into damage limitation mode, releasing a statement in the afternoon declaring that the stolen pieces were contemporary and thus of less historical value than other items in the collection. The Foundation added that, “thanks to the timely intervention of the security apparatus operating inside the exhibition halls... the Civic Museums Foundation has been able to provide the police with all the elements necessary for a rapid resolution of the investigation.” Let us hope such optimism is justified.
The show displayed almost 300 pieces from the Al Thani collection of Indian and Indian-inspired gems and jewellery covering five centuries, from the Mughal period to the present. It has been amassed over a remarkably short period of time by Sheikh Hamad bin Abdullah Al Thani. The first cousin to the emir of Qatar admits that it has become “an obsession”, one that began in 2009 when he visited the exhibition Maharaja: The Splendour of India's Royal Courts, at London's Victoria and Albert Museum. The Sheikh now owns what is probably the most important collection of historical Indian jewellery in private hands.