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THEFT of 60 world class mineral specimens in Johannesburg!
  
  Index -> Reporting thefts and disappearances
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Jordi Fabre
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PostPosted: Dec 09, 2014 14:55    Post subject: THEFT of 60 world class mineral specimens in Johannesburg!  

Message via Sharon Flax Waddington Editor of Southern African Gems & Minerals Magazine:

NOTE!!! THEFT of major mineral specimens in Johannesburg. Sunday night 7th December. There has been a theft of 60 world class mineral Desmond Sacco's house in Johannesburg. Please forward this alert to all mineral collectors and dealers you might know and ask them to forward onwards as well. If you are offered extraordinary specimens for sale, international as well as southern African, be very wary. Some of these have been photographed and if they appear on the market they are easily traceable.

Terrible news. We will keep in touch with Mr. Desmond Sacco and we will let you know if it is something to do in order to help him. For the moment is mandatory DON'T BUY any suspicious major specimen, suddenly offered by an unknown dealer, and if it looks clearly as a black business, report it.
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bob kerr




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PostPosted: Dec 09, 2014 15:20    Post subject: Re: THEFT of 60 world class mineral specimens in Johannesburg!  

it would be very useful to see some photos of these. maybe provide a link or post here on FMF?

bob
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PostPosted: Dec 09, 2014 16:44    Post subject: Re: THEFT of 60 world class mineral specimens in Johannesburg!  

Images would be critical. We are trying to contact Desmond for it...
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Christophe Gobin




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PostPosted: Dec 10, 2014 05:40    Post subject: THEFT of 60 world class mineral specimens in Johannesburg! - Photo of them  

Hi everybody,
I just spoke with Desmond Sacco, I have a photo of the stolen minerals.
He asked me to post them on the forum.
If anybody sees one of these pieces, please contact us urgently.

All the best,
Christophe



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Carles Millan
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PostPosted: Dec 10, 2014 05:46    Post subject: Re: THEFT of 60 world class mineral specimens in Johannesburg!  

Several more photos can be seen here http://www.mindat.org/article.php/2170/STOLEN+-+Major+specimens+stolen+from+the+Desmond+Sacco+collection
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PostPosted: Dec 10, 2014 06:37    Post subject: THEFT of 60 world class mineral specimens in Johannesburg! - Photo of them  

Christophe Gobin wrote:
Hi everybody,
I just spoke with Desmond Sacco, I have a photo of the stolen minerals.
He asked me to post them on the forum.
If anybody sees one of these pieces, please contact us urgently.

All the best,
Christophe

Thank you so much Chris!

FMFers please remember that you can enlarge the image and then with the magnifying glass get a better vision of each specimen.
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Passmann




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PostPosted: Dec 10, 2014 07:21    Post subject: Re: THEFT of 60 world class mineral specimens in Johannesburg!  

I've posted this on the Norwegian Rockhound page on Facebook as well.

-Henrik
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PostPosted: Dec 10, 2014 08:53    Post subject: Re: THEFT of 60 world class mineral specimens in Johannesburg!  

Hi all,
I just received some more pictures via e-mail ... hope there will be no copyright problem if I post them here - if so please feel free to remove if needed.

This came as a description "For example; back center is a Jonas mine rubellite approximately 40cm; back right is a ~30-40 cm stibnite; front bottom center is a KMF rhodochrosite about 30 cm; the large Pakistan aquamarine at the top right of the rhodo (the vertical crystal) is about 20cm tall and 10 cm wide. The afghanite crystal is the one that was recently featured on the cover of the Min. Record. There are also some
large Tsumeb pieces."

Best, Roger



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PostPosted: Dec 10, 2014 08:54    Post subject: Re: THEFT of 60 world class mineral specimens in Johannesburg!  

Just noticed that these are the same pictures as posted at the link Carles provided ...
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PostPosted: Dec 11, 2014 17:20    Post subject: Re: THEFT of 60 world class mineral specimens in Johannesburg!  

A note kindly supplied by Alex Schauss

Dear Colleagues:

Here is what I have learned on how the theft of Desmond Sacco's specimens occurred, that I reported on two days ago.

The break-in started when an imposter delivery van arrived at his place. They overpowered the security guard after he opened the entrance gate, while the driver signed a form. They seemed to know that Des was away and that only a skeleton staff were at the site at the time. Staff that were present were then held a gun point, which is how they forced the security people to give them access into the bunker building that housed the collection. They used pillow cases and wrapped the specimens in linen, and then fled with some 60 specimens.

Bruce Cairncross is now handling communications related to the theft of the specimens on behalf of Desmond.

Regards,

Alex
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PostPosted: Dec 12, 2014 05:09    Post subject: Re: THEFT of 60 world class mineral specimens in Johannesburg!  

Hi to everybody!
I am so regretful of what happened to Desmond. When such bloody facts happen I always think of how I would feel if it happened to me. But I think the issue is everybody should have all of the photos of stolen minerals in his/her bag while attending mineral shows! Do you think it is possible? OK, you will say stolen specimens are almost never sold at mineral shows like Munich, Tucson etc., but "almost" doesn't mean "absolutely"! Then it is extremely difficult to determine whether a specimen belongs to the stolen series!
Greetings from Italy by Riccardo.

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Hi! I'm a collector of minerals since 1973 and a gemmologist. On Summer I always visit mines and quarries all over Europe looking for minerals! Ok, there is time to tell you much much more! Greetings from Italy by Riccardo.
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PostPosted: Dec 14, 2014 06:48    Post subject: THEFT of 60 world class mineral specimens in Johannesburg! - UPDATE & more images  

We just receieved more info and images:

Hello Everyone,

The buzz about Desmond Sacco's theft is already flying around the globe.
Luckily they couldn't access the main vault room and so to the African treasures...
60 Pieces were taken.

We all know that most of these pieces might already be totally destroyed by being dumped into bags...
However, I would like to share a few pictures of what was displayed in the room where the thieves could enter.
So please spray these pictures around the World to make these mineral specimens UNMARKETABLE!!

Be on the lookout.

See more about the Desmond Sacco collection: http://www.dessaccominerals.co.za/?m=1

Thanks to ALL and thank you for Desmond,

Please contact :
Brice Gobin
Cell (Dubai): +971 50 73 481 78
Cell (France): +33 6 61 62 40 63



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PostPosted: Dec 14, 2014 08:34    Post subject: Re: THEFT of 60 world class mineral specimens in Johannesburg!  

This is so sad and I can't even imagine how it must feel when some a**hole steals so many valuable pieces from your beloved collection :-(

Are there any experiences with such situations? When such minerals are stolen, it takes not long until everyone on the web can see that they are stolen goods, so the chance of selling them regularly is zero, or am I wrong?! I remember some other reports during the last years about mineral specimens that were stolen at shows or museums, but I don't remember the aftermath of that incidents. What would you say are Desmond's chances to get his treasures back?

I don't know him in person, but I know about his magnificent collection and I really hope that those 60 specimens once belong to him again and not to an a**hole who steals another person's work of a lifetime.

Tobi
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PostPosted: Dec 14, 2014 09:40    Post subject: Re: THEFT of 60 world class mineral specimens in Johannesburg!  

Tobi wrote:
This is so sad and I can't even imagine how it must feel when some a**hole steals so many valuable pieces from your beloved collection :-(

Are there any experiences with such situations? When such minerals are stolen, it takes not long until everyone on the web can see that they are stolen goods, so the chance of selling them regularly is zero, or am I wrong?! I remember some other reports during the last years about mineral specimens that were stolen at shows or museums, but I don't remember the aftermath of that incidents. What would you say are Desmond's chances to get his treasures back?

I don't know him in person, but I know about his magnificent collection and I really hope that those 60 specimens once belong to him again and not to an a**hole who steals another person's work of a lifetime.

Tobi


Hi Tobi. My guess is that those specimens will be altered for jewelry. The rhodocrosite could be split into smaller pieces etc. The theft appears to have come from a very organized syndicate. I am sure the detective will have a long and hard look at the list of people that viewed this collection in recent months.

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PostPosted: Dec 15, 2014 12:36    Post subject: Re: THEFT of 60 world class mineral specimens in Johannesburg!  

Pierre Joubert wrote:
My guess is that those specimens will be altered for jewelry. The rhodocrosite could be split into smaller pieces etc.
What a painful sacrilege :-(
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PostPosted: Dec 15, 2014 14:23    Post subject: Re: THEFT of 60 world class mineral specimens in Johannesburg!  

Hello Pierre,

It could be an order too. Some years ago, a burglary took place at a French collector's home while he was away. The thieves only took one (exceptionnal) specimen. Nothing else was taken away. From what I know (not much) it was never recovered.

Christophe
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PostPosted: Dec 16, 2014 05:20    Post subject: Re: THEFT of 60 world class mineral specimens in Johannesburg!  

chris wrote:
Hello Pierre,

It could be an order too. Some years ago, a burglary took place at a French collector's home while he was away. The thieves only took one (exceptionnal) specimen. Nothing else was taken away. From what I know (not much) it was never recovered.

Christophe


Hi Chris. I thought of that too; some rich (sick) guy who may now have this collection displayed somewhere in a hidden vault. If this is the case, he will view this alone and can share it with no one. It could also have been stolen to demand a ransom. Whatever the reason, it is a huge loss to Des and the mineralogical world.

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PostPosted: Dec 16, 2014 16:27    Post subject: Re: THEFT of 60 world class mineral specimens in Johannesburg!  

It is regrettable that these things happen. Moreover, such thefts are likely to happen on demand. Really now, unlike gold or diamonds, natural raw minerals are not a very liquid commodity. For most people their only value would be if they were cut and inserted into some sort of jewelry if possible. In such cases it is most likely that the person who actually benefited from the theft was familiar with the collection, maybe he or she even visited the place and knew the owner well.
My suggestion is to make a complete inventory of what was actually taken and see if a pattern or preference emerges (most likely). After that, look into who would likely desperately want such pieces. Even if none of those people actually had anything to do with this, the perpetrators might have tried to sell them some of the items, at least for the sake of establishing the market value of what they’ve stolen and see if the person who commanded the robbery is paying them a fair price.
Just a thought: nothing is irreplaceable besides human beings. I hope that he will be able to rise an even more spectacular collection than the one he lost.
I cannot help but to remark that when I announced almost a year ago the theft at the Romanian Museum of Mineralogy in Baia Mare, no one seemed to bother, I received no comment what so ever, like nobody at all cared about this besides the museum’s curators. Sadly one of them is not among us anymore.
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PostPosted: Apr 29, 2016 07:19    Post subject: Re: THEFT of 60 world class mineral specimens in Johannesburg!  

The photos featuring "Yesterday's most viewed images" reminded me of that spectacular theft I had almost forgotten about.
Were any of the stolen specimens eventually recovered?
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PostPosted: Apr 29, 2016 10:04    Post subject: Re: THEFT of 60 world class mineral specimens in Johannesburg!  

Fiebre Verde wrote:
The photos featuring "Yesterday's most viewed images" reminded me of that spectacular theft I had almost forgotten about.
Were any of the stolen specimens eventually recovered?

Unfortunately not. A real disgrace...
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