The Man Who Stole Art

The strange tale of Stéphane Breitweiser, arguably the world's greatest art thief, who managed to steal hundreds of works valued, in total, at well over one billion dollars.

His success was largely attributable to a a loophole in the world of art security: that there's not much security on the front-end (in the museums). Instead, as Michael Finkel notes in a Feb 2019 article in GQ, "art crimes are typically solved on the back end, when the thieves try to sell the work."

And that's why Breitweiser managed to get away with his thefts for so long, because he never tried to sell anything. He stole because he loved the art and wanted to have it for himself, accumulating it all in his mother's house, where he lived.

His case reminds me of Joseph Feldman, who stole over 15,000 books from the New York Public Library, simply because he loved books. It suggests a recurring weird-news theme: thieves who steal not from a profit motive, but instead to indulge their obsessive collecting.

Stéphane Breitweiser

     Posted By: Alex - Sun Jul 28, 2019
     Category: Art | Crime | Collectors

In England an art thief living with his mother stashed his collection at home. His mother discovered it and read about it. To protect him she burned it and threw the remains into the canal outside her house. It rose above water level.
Posted by phil doring on 07/28/19 at 06:55 AM
Based only on the above photo, I think I'd want to cast Steve Buscemi to play him in a movie.
Posted by Fritz on 07/28/19 at 07:02 AM
You took the words out of my keyboard, Fritz.
Posted by Virtual in Carnate on 07/28/19 at 08:11 AM
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