Author Topic: The thief who stole 106 priceless timepieces in audacious museum heist  (Read 8534 times)

Joe Carillo

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In the Smithsonian Magazine online History section last April 14, 2023, publishing consultant and award-winning book author Fern Reiss chronicles in “The Time Thief Who Stole 106 Rare Clocks in a Daring Heist” how one spring night in April 1983, an audacious burglar stole 106 rare clocks worth tens of millions of dollars from the L.A. Mayer Museum for Islamic Art in Jerusalem. The thief carted away one of the “three rarest clock collections in the world,” managing to keep the loot and remaining unidentified for over two decades. Among the stolen timepieces was a $30-million watch that had been commissioned for Marie Antoinette, the last queen of France before the French Revolution. 

                                             IMAGE CREDIT: PHOTOS VIA MICHAEL.VAINSHTEIN AND DEROR_AVI VIA WIKIMEDIA COMMONS, MUSEUM FOR ISLAMIC ART
Part of the loot of 106 priceless clocks in the daring 1983 heist from the Jerusalem museum

Investigators made little progress in identifying the thief and ultimately tracing the loot until August 2006. This was when a Tel Aviv arts dealer informed the L.A. Mayer Museum staff that he had been asked to perform a valuation of clocks that he recognized as part of the stolen collection. After that, the museum got a phone call from a lawyer representing an anonymous woman who claimed to possess 39 of the stolen clocks that included the Marie Antoinette watch.

The anonymous woman indicated to the lawyer that she would return the stolen clocks to the museum for a certain sum, and on condition that her identity would be kept anonymous and that there would be no police involvement in the recovery process. Her husband, a notorious Israeli criminal by the name of Naaman Diller, had apparently confessed the crime to her when he was dying of cancer and left the stolen goods to her in his will.

Read the full story by Fern Reiss in the Smithsonian Magazine's online History section now!     
« Last Edit: May 13, 2023, 01:06:39 AM by Joe Carillo »