Bloomberg looks behind the scenes at the FBI’s National Stolen Art File led by Bonnie Magness-Gardniner:
The black-market in art “is a very large enterprise,” Magness-Gardiner said in an interview. “Stolen art, stolen antiquities move into a legitimate market very easily.”
Her office serves as a hub for federal law enforcement efforts to combat art theft. She oversees the National Stolen Art File, a database of stolen art and cultural property, as well as the FBI’s “Top Ten Art Crimes” — a Most Wanted list for historic valuables.
Made up of 14 special agents and three prosecutors, the team operates around the country, with each agent in the field overseeing a different region. The team got its start after the looting of cultural treasures in Baghdad following the U.S. invasion of Iraq and has cultivated international ties as it does its work.
To date, the team has recovered more than 2,650 items with a value of more than $150 million, according to the FBI.