CLEVELAND (WJW) – The New York Supreme Court and New York District Attorney’s Office have issued a warrant and seized a stolen ancient bronze Roman sculpture that was on display at The Cleveland Museum of Art.
The statue of a headless Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius dated ca. 180-200 C.E. is valued at $20 million.
“On August 14, we secured a judicially signed warrant authorizing the seizure of the Marcus Aurelius from the Cleveland Museum of Art pursuant to our ongoing criminal investigation into a smuggling network involving antiquities looted from Bubon in Turkiye and trafficked through Manhattan,” Manhattan District Attorney’s Office Doug Cohen said in a statement.
The warrant was issued on August 14, 2023, and signed by Justice Ruth Pickholz, ordering the return of the statue within 10 days of its issuance.
The Cleveland Museum of Art’s press officer Todd Mesek issued the following statement via email:
“The Cleveland Museum of Art takes provenance issues very seriously and reviews claims to objects in the collection carefully and responsibly. We believe that public discussion before a resolution is reached detracts from the free and open dialogue between the relevant parties that leads to the best result for all concerned. As a matter of policy, the CMA does not discuss publicly whether a claim has been made.”
The warrant shows the museum could face charges of criminal possession of stolen property in the first degree under Penal Law § 165.54, and a conspiracy to commit the same crime under Penal Law § 105.10(1).