LAWFUEL – The Legal Newswire – The FBI today announced the return of two 15th century maps that were stolen from the Spanish National Library in Madrid, Spain, earlier this year. The FBI assisted in the recovery of the maps at the request of the Spanish National Police and Civil Guard. The two maps, from an edition of Ptolemy’s Geographia, were recovered by a special agent assigned to the New York FBI’s major theft squad and the FBI’s Art Crime Team. Director Robert S. Mueller, III, presented the maps today to Joan Mesquida Ferrando, Director General of the Spanish National Police and Civil Guard in a ceremony at FBI Headquarters.
“The theft of cultural property is a worldwide problem which the FBI takes very seriously. This type of crime is not only an offense against an institution, but deprives the international community of its cultural heritage,” said Director Mueller. “We are pleased to assist the Spanish National Police and Civil Guard in returning these treasures to their rightful owners.”
Nine other maps have been recovered by U.K., Australian, and Argentinean authorities. In total, 11 stolen maps have been recovered. The value of each of the maps is unknown.
Spain has charged a citizen of Uruguay, Cesar Gomez Rivero, with the theft. Rivero is considered a fugitive and is believed to be in South America.
The FBI’s Art Crime Team, formed in 2004, is a rapid deployment team consisting of 12 FBI special agents assigned to various field offices throughout the United States. To date, the Art Crime Team has recovered more than 850 art and cultural property items valued at more than $130 million. For additional information about the Art Crime Team, please visit www.fbi.gov.