Those Elegant Art Thieves: In the US and the UK, the Fate of Two Sophisticated Academics Show a Different Face of Criminality

UK’s Peter John Higgs and US’ Lawrence Gray.

On both sides of the Atlantic, crime presents itself in many gruesome ways, from mob smash and grab to armed robbery and all the varieties in between.

But the even the most protected classes are not immune to the effects of criminality, and worse – the alleged culprits may come from their very own circles of friendship.

Lawrence Gray is an American retired professor, and everyone that knows him agree he has ‘great taste, immaculate manners, glittering social connections’.

Peter John Higgs was a PHD curator of Greek collections at the British Museum, and also tracked down looted artifacts and returning them to their home countries.

One sued and prosecuted, the other fired and investigated – both disgraced for their alleged involvement in the robbery of jewels, antiquities and xxxxxxx

New York Post reported:

“The 79-year-old is accused of making off with at least $1 million of jewels and art from homes in five states, some where he had been invited to weddings or fundraisers.”

Prosecutors in New York echo previous claims in civil court, describing Gray as a ‘clever thief’ who began targeting his lover – and then her proceeded to rob members of their affluent circle of friends.

He had a long relationship with Jacqueline Quillen, a heiress and a divorcee. He often stayed at her houses in East Hampton or in Georgetown. They had separate homes but shared a busy social life.

“But what she did not know was that Gray was, allegedly, stealing from her and from her friends. He even took the 1920s Steuben martini glasses she had been gifted by Loomis, her son Parker alleged in a civil suit.

Gray, who surrendered to authorities Tuesday, has now been accused in Manhattan of stealing at least seven pieces of high-end jewelry and selling them through a New York auction house between 2016 and 2018, earning in excess of $45,000.”

The pieces allegedly stolen by Gray include ‘a Verdura platinum, diamond and sapphire brooch’ that sold for $22,500, as well as $13,000 ‘Buccellati pendant earrings’ and a $7,500 ‘Buccellati brooch’.

“Gray is also facing a felony larceny charge in Rhode Island, where he allegedly stole a $32,000 Verdura platinum, diamond and sapphire brooch from the Newport home of Nannette and George Herrick, a former US diplomat, during a wedding reception.”

Gray’s downfall started when, in May 2021, Nannette Herrick was alerted that her ‘one-of-a-kind’ piece was being auctioned on Doyle House in Manhattan, where Gray is alleged to have consigned the brooch in August 2016.

As of now, new cases and ongoing law enforcement investigations are taking place in multiple other jurisdictions, involving Gray as the suspect.

The New York Post calculates the total value of his alleged thefts in all the cases to be above $1 million.

Gray has pleaded not guilty to all the charges.

Before any criminal prosecution, Quillen’s son Parker, sued Gray, accusing him of stealing a hoard of valuables, including ‘a $17,000 diamond ring’, ‘a $10,000 Patek Philippe watch’ and ‘$4,700 diamond earrings’.

The suit was settled by Gray. The terms were confidential, but Gray did make a payment to Quillen’s estate.

Gray will return to a Manhattan courtroom on Oct. 31, after pleading not guilty to felony counts of ‘scheme to defraud’, ‘criminal possession of stolen property’ and ‘grand larceny’.

LEFT: Herrick’s Verdura platinum, diamond and sapphire brooch, allegedly stolen by Lawrence Gray. RIGHT: Cartier diamond ring, missing from the British museum’s collection.

On the other side of the pond, another elegant professor is under the microscope after he was revealed to be the British museum employee fired after a stolen treasures scandal.

Daily Mail reported:

“The British Museum worker sacked after being accused of stealing priceless treasures was today revealed to be a ‘world expert’ on ancient Greece who had worked there for more than three decades.

Peter John Higgs, 56, was fired this summer over jewelry, gems and precious metals spanning more than three millennia of history that vanished from the museum’s vaults over a number of years.”

Higgs has not been arrested by police, but was dismissed from the Museum after items were found to be ‘missing, stolen or damaged’.

It arose that he was named to bosses three years ago, after Greco-Roman jewelry went up for sale on eBay – but kept his job.

His family maintains his innocence, saying he will clear his name.

Met Police has not revealed what was stolen. But high profile thefts in the Museum include a £750,000 Cartier diamond ring, missing since 2011.

“Some experts fear that the stolen items, including precious stone, glass and metal from as early as the 15th century BC, could be already in the hands of private collectors or even melted down by gangs for ‘quick cash’.

[…] The Daily Telegraph reports that the Metropolitan Police’s Economic Crime Command is in charge of the criminal investigation. One insider suggested that few details have been released because they ‘may have some idea of their whereabouts and believe they could be recovered’.”

The Museum has apologized for the theft of such irreplaceable items, says it has tightened security and brought outside experts to account precisely what is missing, damaged and stolen.

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Paul Serran is a Brazilian writer and musician, completing his first year as a contributor to The Gateway Pundit. He has written books, articles, TV programs, documentaries, plays. He joined the 'Information war' in 2017 and started writing for an international - predominantly American - audience. Unbanned in X | Truth Social | Telegram Channel

You can email Paul Serran here, and read more of Paul Serran's articles here.


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