FBI launches app allowing users to help find stolen art

FBI launches app allowing users to help find stolen art

13 Apr 2023 ( UPI )

The FBI has launched an app for smartphones that allows users to help federal law enforcement track down stolen artwork.

The app, titled the FBI’s National Stolen Art File, is available on the Apple App Store and Google Play and comes amid an international push in recent months to recover stolen art.

“One of the biggest evolutions for NSAF was making it publicly available,” said Colleen Childers of the FBI’s Art Crime Program in a statement.

“Now, with the new mobile upgrade that we’ve undergone, we want to continue to push to make it a more user-friendly platform.”

The app will allow users to share entries in the database by text, email or social media as well as calling the FBI or submitting tips online.

“While the app was primarily created with law enforcement and art-industry partners in mind, anyone can use it to verify that art or antiquities they own or are looking to buy aren’t actually stolen property,” the FBI said in its news release.

Among the missing art featured in the app are dozens of prints by pop artist Andy Warhol, including seven of his famous Campbell’s Soup can silkscreens and two of actress Marilyn Monroe.

Missing artwork spans millennia, from ancient artifacts to Renaissance masters such as Albrecht Durer to modern-day stars like David Hockney.

Other artists featured in the database include Henri Matisse, Vincent Van Gogh, Pablo Picasso, Francisco Mora, Erté, Marc Chagall, Salvador Dali, Rembrandt and Edna Hibel — each of whom have numerous works in the database of missing art.

In total, there are at least 4,533 items in the database that can be filtered by categories such as the medium in which the art was made.

The app does not provide many details about the missing artwork, such as any known circumstances on when and how they went missing or from where.

The FBI app comes nearly a decade after Italy’s Carabinieri launched its groundbreaking app to help fight against art theft. The iTPC app contains a massive database of more than 5.7 million art and cultural artifacts that have been stolen, and unlike the FBI app, allows users to input a photo of artwork they own to search for a match.

Interpol also launched an app in 2021 called ID-Art, which contains more than 52,000 objects from 134 member countries.

Users of the Interpol app can report any potentially stolen items to the international law enforcement agency, which will then follow up on the reports or transmit them to local authorities. It also allows art organizations to report art theft to Interpol.