A London association specializing in the recovery of stolen works of art reported to the Austrian authorities a mysterious phone call from a man who inquired about a Chinese bronze vessel worth 80,000 euros.
The Vienna State Criminal Police Office then investigated the case. The research led to a shipping company. It was found that an employee (45) of the company had stolen works of art from the warehouse of an art shipping company. During a house search, the police found stolen paintings and drawings by Gustav Klimt, prints by Egon Schiele and a portrait of Emperor Franz Josef by the artist Friedrich Wailand in the Austrian’s apartment. However, these items have not been reported as stolen. Therefore further investigations are being carried out.
The officials found that the 45-year-old Austrian was already in contact with an international auction house. The police now assume that the suspect wanted to use the query in the database of the London association to ensure that the vessel was not reported as stolen.
The police are currently investigating three other stolen works of art. It is a sketch sheet by the artist Alfred Kubin, a poster by Josef Mikl and a picture by Rudolf Hoflehner. The police suspect that the works of art have already been sold.
The suspect was reported at large.