Thursday, 21 February 2013

Inept thief charged with stealing Dali

Cartel de Don Juan Tenorio by Salvador Dali
There are widespread reports this week of the case brought by the New York authorities against a Greek man in relation to a bungled attempt to steal this DalĂ­ painting from New York gallery, Venus Over Manhattan.

Last June, in broad daylight, Phivos Istavrioglou walked into the gallery, pulled the painting off the wall and put it in his shopping bag – in front of security cameras and leaving fingerprints in the process. Once photos of him from the security cameras started to circulate, Istavrioglou was scared into removing the picture from its frame, rolling it up and sending it back to New York.
Unfortunately for Istavrioglou, New York detectives were able to lift his fingerprints from the package, which they then matched to those taken from another shoplifting incident, and were thus able to identify Istavrioglou. As a final step, an undercover policeman posed as an art gallery owner and convinced Istavrioglou to return to New York with the offer of a consultant position. Upon his touch down at JFK, Istavrioglou was arrested.

Istavrioglou has pleaded not guilty to grand larceny. Bail has been set at $100,000 (£65,000).

Source: New York Post, 19 February 2013, The Guardian, 20 February 2013

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