Thief Steals Dali Piece, Then Mails It Back

Image credit NY Daily News.

Yesterday I wrote about the massive Swedish book theft. Today we have someone else with sticky fingers, but this time it was a piece by Salvador Dali that was stolen.

On Tuesday, June 19, [a] defiant thief, posing as a customer, lifted a $150,000 Salvador Dalí watercolor-and-ink painting right off the gallery wall and blithely walked out with it poking out of a black shopping bag.

He’d simply entered the gallery during regular business hours, dressed in a check shirt and black jeans, told the security guard that he wanted to photograph the small “Cartel des Don Juan Tenorio,”  a 1949 Dali original that hung advantageously at the back of the dimly lit gallery, waited for the guard to be called away momentarily, and then lifted the piece pretty as you please.


The theft was a success. So what do you do with a stolen Dali? Sell it? Keep it in your private stash of deviously acquired treasures?

…Give it right back?

The mystery was deepened on Monday when the pranked gallery received an email telling them that the painting was enroute from Europe; the whimsical informant even offered a tracking number.

So was this an art theft gone wrong after the fact? Or a criminal changing their mind and growing a conscience? Perhaps it was a publicity stunt? Someone trying to build a name/reputation?

Or maybe Jillian Steinhauer has it right: “Sounds to me like someone was trying to pull off his own version of the Thomas Crown Affair—with far less glamour, cleverness, and sex.”