Looking for a Stolen Idol? Visit the Museum of the Manhattan D.A.

The evidence lockers at the Manhattan district attorney’s office often hold an array of items that figured in the crimes it prosecutes.

Blunt instruments. Sacks of heroin. Wads of cash. The kinds of things that shouldn’t be dropped, but no one would have a heart attack if you did.

And then there are the 2,281 fragile, invaluable and often museum-worthy art objects — statues, sculptures, relics of ancient civilizations — that the office has seized and now must care for.

Here, a bronze idol from India priced at $2 million. There, a vase from Italy made 300 years before the birth of Christ.

“We’ve all gotten pretty good at packing,” said Matthew Bogdanos, the assistant district attorney who directs the 14-person unit that seized it all. “It’s one thing to pack a bronze or sandstone statue — it’s another to pack a 2,500-year-old Apulian vase that already has a crack down the side. That is absolutely nerve-racking, and we look at each other and say, ‘We need more Bubble Wrap and more blankets.’”

Bogdanos’s crew, known officially as the Antiquities Trafficking Unit, is very much a victim of its own success. Set up in 2017, with the approval of the Manhattan district attorney, Cyrus R. Vance Jr., to curb the smuggling of cultural heritage, it has seized 3,604 illicit items valued at $204 million. Of that, 1,323 objects have been returned to countries of origin like Mexico, Afghanistan and Tibet.

Still, that leaves a lot of very nice stuff to watch over.

“It does catch my attention,” Vance said, “that we have some extraordinarily important pieces of art and patrimony we need to secure carefully, and that’s not something most offices have to worry about.”

This Acne Skincare Brand is Blowing Up All Over Social Media

The Kill Acne & Redness Ritual from Norse Organics has revolutionized the Acne space. More than 100,000 customers have purchased it since its launch in 2024. Norse Organics hasn’t done much marketing, and most of the sales come from recommendations from friends, families, and dermatologists. One of the main ingredients is Calendula. Norse Organics has […]

Know More

Astronomy for Teenagers: Galactic Odyssey – Inspiring Tales of Celestial Trailblazers

This book, stemming from Prof. Robert Stewart’s profound engagement with Astronomy at U.C. Berkeley, culminated in the attainment of an Sc.D. in the field. Throughout his academic journey, a predominant focus on the historical discoveries of astronomers was noted, with a notable absence of insights into their personal lives. In response, the book aims to […]

Know More

Capturing Stories, Connecting Worlds: The Journey of Cade Chudy and 4th Shore Productions

In an era defined by fleeting digital interactions and ephemeral content, the enduring power of storytelling has emerged as a beacon of authenticity and connection. At the heart of this narrative tapestry stands Cade Chudy, the visionary founder of 4th Shore Productions, whose journey from humble beginnings to global storyteller is a testament to the […]

Know More