Body of Art Thief Sebastiano Magnanini Found in London Canal

Magnanini had been investigated for ties to the Mafia.

Sebastiano Magnanini. Photo courtesy London police.
Sebastiano Magnanini. Photo courtesy London police.

The body of Sebastiano Magnanini, who once stole a Tiepolo altarpiece from a Venetian church, has been found in London’s Regent Canal.

The Venetian-born Magnanini had moved to London earlier this year, according to the London Telegraph. He was 46 and was suspected of Mafia ties, according to the Daily Mail.

“Detectives investigating the death of a man whose body was recovered from Regent’s Canal have identified and named him,” said a statement from Scotland Yard. “Although formal identification has yet to take place, detectives are satisfied the deceased is Sebastiano Magnanini.”

The deceased had no identifying papers on him, and was identified after the authorities put out information on his distinctive tattoos. Police indicate that he was last seen in the Euston area of London on Tuesday, September 22. They are appealing to anyone who may have seen him that day.

Giovanni Battista Tiepolo, Education of the Virgin, 1732, oil on canvas, from the church of Santa Maria della Consolazione (Fava), Venice.Photo via Wikimedia Commons.

Giovanni Battista Tiepolo, Education of the Virgin, 1732, oil on canvas, from the church of Santa Maria della Consolazione (Fava), Venice.
Photo via Wikimedia Commons.

Magnanini was reportedly found tied to a shopping cart. “The death is being treated as suspicious,” said Scotland Yard adding that no arrests had been made and inquiries continue.

Magnanini served 18 months in prison in the late 1990s for the 1993 theft of Tiepolo’s Education of the Virgin (1732), along with two accomplices, from Venice’s church of Santa Maria della Fava. He was arrested three months later, and the painting (painting, whose worth, according to the Daily Mail, was placed at $1.5 million) was soon recovered at a warehouse near the Marco Polo airport. It shows the Virgin Mary as a young girl reading from an open book as her mother sits beside her and her father looks toward the skies.


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