The FBI recovered $3.5 million in artwork and antiquities--including a $2-million Yuan Dynasty vase--allegedly snatched by two men in daring daylight thefts at museums in five states, officials said today.
The 24 pieces stolen from museums in Boston, Baltimore, Detroit, Columbus, Ohio, and Albany and Syracuse, N.Y., were recovered over the last 17 days in the New York metropolitan area, Assistant FBI Director James Fox said.
The thefts, carried out in daylight while the museums were open to the public, occurred between Jan. 12 and Feb. 25, Fox said in a joint statement released with U.S. Atty. Benito Romano.
FBI agents arrested George Athanasotos, 34, on March 7 and Ronald Corteselli, 28, on March 14 and charged them with the thefts, the statement said.
Both men pleaded innocent Thursday in U.S. District Court in Manhattan and were ordered held without bail for warrants on art theft charges in Baltimore and Albany.