- Associated Press - Sunday, June 5, 2016

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (AP) - A Missouri art museum has been working to upgrade security since several iconic Andy Warhol prints were stolen in April.

Seven Warhol Campbell’s Soup prints were stolen from the Springfield Art Museum on April 7, while three were left behind. The set of 10 has been valued at least $500,000.

Museum director Nick Nelson did not say what types of security are under consideration but said it is seeking requests for proposals from security consultants. Nelson also hasn’t said which measures were in place at the time of the theft and declined to discuss the specifics of how the museum uses security staff and video cameras.

“Certainly it’s something we’re working on,” Nelson told The Springfield News-Leader (https://j.mp/1PxfmZR ). “Security is an ongoing effort,” he said. “It’s not a problem you solve. It’s something you continue to improve.”

Springfield Police Department spokeswoman Lisa Cox said the FBI is leading the ongoing investigation. Bridget Patton, an FBI spokeswoman in Kansas City, said there was no new information to release.

Robert Wittman, the retired founder of the FBI National Art Crime Team, said he was surprised there have been no public developments.

“I’m not criticizing anybody,” Wittman said from his office in Chester Hills, Pennsylvania. “It’s just strange to me that after two months, there’s no movement on that case.”

Wittman, who aided in the recovery of $300 million in stolen objects during his FBI career and is now a consultant, said he found it “really weird” that no video of suspects has been released despite Nelson’s comments that the museum has video surveillance. “If I had video, I’d have (released) that within the first week,” Wittman said.

Meeting national museum quality standards is currently a focus for Nelson and the museum board. The museum hopes to become accredited by the American Alliance of Museums by 2020 and wants to meet “and exceed” recommended security standards, Nelson said.

Museum board chair Sally Scheid said the museum had been “doing so well” with the accreditation process until the thefts.

“I think we’re now in a place where the initial injury is over and we can move forward,” she said.


Information from: Springfield News-Leader, https://www.news-leader.com

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