PPE for Art Thieves

The post-COVID19 era for museums around the world is set to begin within the next couple of months, and with it brings perhaps the greatest challenge that security personnel working in cultural property protection will ever face--that is, the requirement for staff and visitors to wear masks.

For the first time, people entering museums holding millions--and, in some cases, billions--in assets will be required to dress as if they are coming to rob the place.

From a forensic perspective, video cameras will be rendered nearly useless, as they will capture little about thieves or vandals that will aid in identification. Eyewitnesses will have few details to describe to investigators.

And now comes a cautionary tale: a thief wearing a hazmat suit walked into Southampton General Hospital in Britain and attempted to steal a work by Bansky that had been donated to the NHS hospital as a thank you for the efforts of front-line medical workers.

The thief was stopped by NHS personnel before he could make off with the piece, titled Game Changer, which The Sun reported as being worth £5 million. But the question remains: how does one protect valuables in public buildings in this new age?

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