I’m sure most of you art fanatics have already been following the recent story (NY Times) of the theft of Goya’s 1778 painting Children with a Cart. So they found it. Go figure. It was being suggested as an ‘inside job’ and was highly likely to be recovered: no such painting could ever enter the public market again.

Most blogs and sources are crying out to know who the shipping company was, but what difference would that make really? The standards and the procedures of the shipping are credibly more crucial than the ‘who did it’ factor.

But for me, I’m most-intrigued by the method of information-deployment by the FBI, the agency in charge of the investigation. Such as with the recovery of the painting, they issued a PDF which contained their statement, a full-color image of the painting, and the original announcement of the theft, which apparently was printed from the following directory of a local computer:


This string, you’ll find at the bottom of pages 4 & 5 of the aforementioned PDF, means 1. the FBI uses MS Windows and 2. there’s actually someone in the FBI with the username ‘agsfsieg.IC’!! How strange!

These pages were likely printed directly from a HTML file via a web browser. For those who don’t know, the tagging elements found on these pages include the title of the web-page (top-left), the page count (top-right), the directory of the file (bottom-left) and the date (bottom-right); these elements can be found in the Firefox browser under ‘file -> page setup -> margins & header/footer’ – you can set the elements in whatever position you like, including custom elements for specific pages.

Now let’s just hope the FBI is able to recover the estimated 7,000-10,000 remaining stolen items from Iraqi museums that got looted after the US-led invasion over three years ago; I mean, 18 months ago they recovered 8! That’s a start!

Go Art Crime Team Go!