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Art stolen from Italian abbey 18 years ago found in Dallas

Special Agents with HSI seized a stolen Italian painting in Dallas.
Special Agents with HSI seized a stolen Italian painting in Dallas. (HSI/ICE)

DALLAS – U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents found a piece of art this month in Dallas that had been stolen from an abbey in Italy 18 years ago.

The painting, called “The Assumption of the Virgin Mary,” was created by Italy’s Giuseppe Pappini in August 1851.

ICE officials said the painting was stolen from the Abbey of Santa Maria in Sylvia in Sesto al Reghena, Italy in May 2002.

A tip about the location of the painting was received in 2019 at the agency’s office in Rome. That tip led agents to a private collector in the Dallas area, who had purchased the piece from a dealer in 2015. The dealer had no idea the painting had been stolen, officials said.

Officials said the collector turned over the painting to agents.

Ryan Spradlin, special agent in charge of ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations division in Dallas, said the agency has partnerships with more than 40 countries as part of the effort to find stolen pieces of cultural property and return them to their owners.


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