Italy to Crowdsource Hunt for Stolen Art via an App

The recovered Paul Gauguin and Pierre Bonnard paintings being unveiled by Italian officials. The current owner, a factory worker, hopes the artwork will be returned to him. Photo: Andreas Solaro, courtesy Agence France-Presse/Getty Images.

Following their remarkable find of Gauguin and Bonnard paintings, the Italian police have launched an app to crowdsource their future detective work, the AFP reports. Called iTPC, (an acronym for the country’s cultural heritage police) the app allows anyone with a Android or iPhone to upload pictures of artworks they think may be stolen. Police will then cross-reference the image with the more than 5.7 million so-called objects of cultural heritage to see if there’s a match.

That database is the largest of its kind in the world. Italy was also the first country to open a special department dedicated to searching out stolen art, in 1969. Speaking about the app at a press conference, head of Italy’s heritage police Mariano Mossa said, “It represents a first for those who hope to contribute to the fight against heritage crimes.”

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