Former Special Prosecutor for the FBI’s Art Crime Team has prosecuted numerous art theft cases.

SAFE/Saving Antiquities for Everyone is pleased to award the 2010 Beacon Award to David Locke Hall, a prosecutor who commits wholeheartedly to ensure that those who are accused of stealing cultural property are brought to justice.

A graduate of Yale University School of Management and the University of Pennsylvania Law School, David Hall is an Assistant United States Attorney, International and National Security Coordinator, and a Special Prosecutor for the FBI’s Art Crime Team at the U.S. Department of Justice in Wilmington, Delaware. Traveling throughout the world and across the United States, he has been at the forefront of many recovery missions, including the recent recovery of a collection of Mesopotamian artifacts. In 1997, he worked with fellow Beacon Award recipient Robert Wittman to negotiate the return of five Norman Rockwell paintings that had been secreted away to Brazil. He prosecuted the theft and attempted sale of the Pablo Picasso etching, “Le Repas Frugal” and prosecuted and prevented the further attempted sale of two fraudulent Andrew Wyeth paintings. His dedication has earned him the Excellence in Law Enforcement Award from the Department of Homeland Security/Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and the Director’s Award from the U.S. Department of Justice.

In addition to his prosecutorial duties, David Hall has served as a Captain in the U.S. Navy Reserve since 1984, where he received the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Joint Service Commendation Medal, and many other medals and commendations. From 2001 to 2003, he served as the Homeland Warning Chief and Special Advisor to the Director of the Joint Intelligence Task Force Combating Terrorism at the Defense Intelligence Agency/Joint Chiefs of Staff in Washington, DC. He has also written numerous journal articles on the military and the law, and is author of the book The Reagan Wars: A Constitutional Perspective on War Powers and the Presidency (Westview Press, 1991).

SAFE is thrilled to honor David Hall’s expertise and tenacity in using the justice system to protect the world’s cultural heritage.


On Friday, October 29, 2010 over 120 people packed into John Jay College’s Gerald W. Lynch Theater in New York City for the sold-out, fourth-ever SAFE Beacon Awards.

On this evening, SAFE honored four exceptional law enforcement officials who have fought on the frontlines of the illicit antiquities trade: Senior Special Agent for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) James McAndrew, U.S. Attorney David Hall, former federal prosecutor and private practicing attorney Robert Goldman, and retired FBI Agent Robert Wittman.

SAFE’s founder Cindy Ho set the tone for the evening in her opening remarks, reiterating the organization’s mission to promote the stewardship of cultural objects which hold invaluable information about our shared history. She then introduced Dr. Richard Leventhal of the Penn Cultural Heritage Center, who co-sponsored the event. Dr. Leventhal turned his attention to the audience, emphasizing the importance of public awareness and echoing what David Hall would say later in the night: “Every sleuth has a tipster.”

Marion Forsyth Werkheiser of the newly formed Cultural Heritage Partners moderated the lively panel, “A Fight for the Future” which at times, felt more like a reunion than a lecture, as all four Beacon Award winners have worked together on various cases and training programs.

The awardees’ brief individual presentations gave way to a spirited discussion about some of the challenges they have faced in the field. The four winners touched on the unfortunate difficulty in finding archaeologists, conservators and other academics who are willing to use their expertise to identify illicit antiquities. They also recognized that there was no shortage of art crime cases in the U.S., but the self-motivated government agents and federal attorneys who pursue those investigations must do so alongside murder cases, drug busts, car thefts and other work.

“Objects that you recover are going to be here for future generations,” Goldman said, and similarly, David Hall recalled Hippocrates’ famous maxim: “Ars langa, vita brevis” (Art lasts, life is brief).
Obstacles aside, the awardees beamed while talking about the immense satisfaction that goes along with recovering objects that are part of a larger historical puzzle. And though these officials have collectively rescued hundreds of millions of dollars worth of stolen art, they were emphatic that cultural artifacts are inherently priceless – the irresistible word of the night, as the award winners celebrated Wittman’s bestselling memoir of the same name, which he signed for audience members during the reception.

We would like to thank everyone who helped make October 29 an outstanding evening. SAFE again applauds Goldman, Hall, McAndrew, and Wittman for their exceptional work in the field and joins them in their hope that one day, their line work won’t be so exceptional.

We also wish to thank every one of the attendees who responded to our exit survey (an impressive 50%) and revealed that prior to the event, half of them were not familiar or only somewhat familiar with the issues. For this reason, this event’s outcome was especially rewarding given our mission to raise public awareness. We are grateful for the feedback we received, including the following:

  • “I enjoyed the presentations. Very informative! Never studied on this topic. Tonight I have learned and it has become a great interest to me.”
  • “I was not aware the scale and impact of looting. I am shocked!”
  • “Great very informative and entertaining.”
  • “The panelists were so compelling.”
  • “The presentation and the information were great and useful for the future.”
  • “Very interesting presentation. I’m more aware of the art business now.”
  • “This event is significant and should be shared with the public!”

Also, special thanks to the following:

Elizabeth Gilgan, Deanna Baker, Megan Gannon, Marc Balcells, Ellen Belcher, Glenda Chao, Ana Escobedo, Luke Glover, Athena Hsieh, Damien Huffe, Laura Moore, Tracy Musacchio, Heather Otto, Margaret Rivera, Rebecca Rushfield, Brooke Todsen, Gabriele Ursitti, Adam Witham, Hyuna Yong

Very informative! Never studied this topic. Tonight I have learned and it has become a great interest to me.E.J., New York City


Friday October 29, 2010
Lecture: Gerald W. Lynch Theater, John Jay College of Criminal Justice
899 Tenth Ave, New York, New York

Download souvenir journal and “like” SAFE Beacon Awards on Facebook.

2010 SAFE Beacon Award poster

We thank the following organizations and individuals for their participation in the Souvenir Journal: