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Citadel News Service
2 Sep 2011

Art crime and the FBI: Pursuing the Priceless

“The most famous art detective in the world” to speak at The Citadel

Celebrated as “the most famous art detective in the world” by the London Times, Robert K. Wittman has recovered more than $300 million worth of stolen art during his 20-year career as a decorated FBI investigator.

Photo

Robert K. Wittman

In his only South Carolina speaking engagement, Wittman will share the thrill of the chase at 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 29, in McAlister Field House at The Citadel, with a book signing to follow. Books can be pre-ordered at http://foundation.citadel.edu/artcrime.

Tickets are $10 for the public, $5 for students with school ID, and free with Citadel ID. Tickets may be purchased in advance by calling (843) 953-7477 or online at http://foundation.citadel.edu/artcrime. A limited number of tickets will be available at the door. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Parking is free on campus, but is limited. 

Copies of Wittman’s New York Times best-selling book “Priceless: How I Went Undercover to Rescue the World’s Stolen Treasures” will be available for purchase and for signing.

“Robert Wittman’s exploits are more riveting than any art heist movie could invent,” said Tiffany Silverman, fine arts instructor at The Citadel and the event organizer. “He has contributed so much to the fields of law enforcement and fine arts, and we are honored to share this rare opportunity with our students and the community at large.”

Rising from humble roots as the son of an antique dealer, Wittman has been called “a living legend” by The Wall Street Journal for his incredible career that began at the FBI in 1988. With specialized training in art, antiques, jewelry and gem identification, Wittman served as the FBI's investigative expert in this field and founded the FBI's rapid deployment Art Crime Team in 2005.

From Paris to Philadelphia, Miami to Madrid, Wittman went deep undercover, usually unarmed, to catch art thieves, scammers and black market traders whether notorious organized criminals, opportunistic museum janitors, or high-ranking diplomats. He taught team members how to conduct high-stakes cultural property investigations to recover work including art by Renoir, Goya and Rodin as well as a $35 million Rembrandt and an original copy of the Bill of Rights. Their efforts resulted in the prosecution and conviction of numerous art criminals.

This lecture is made possible by the Brawley Fine Arts Fund, The Citadel Alumni Association, The Citadel’s School for the Humanities and Social Sciences and The Citadel Foundation.

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Media Contact:
Kim Keelor-Parker
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(843) 953-2155