The stealing of a Salavador Dali painting was as ‘surreal’ as the famous painter would have thought. Suspect Phivos Istavrioglou, 29, not only he left his finger prints behind after stashing it in a shopping bag and flew it to Athens, Greece. He returned it to gallery per post. Security cameras had captured his picture full recognizable… Police set up a trap inviting him to a possible position as consultant at a gallery. The stealing took place in broad daylight in June 2012.
Dali watercolour ‘Cartel de Don Juan Tenorio’
worth 150,000 USDollars
Phivos Istavrioglou appeared before a US-court on Wednesday, where a judge set a bail at $100,000.
The 29-year-old suspect, Phivos Istavrioglou of Greece, called his own attempt “stupid”, according to an account of a confession contained in court papers.
He left fingerprints that helped authorities track him down and was arrested for the theft of the work, called Cartel de Don Juan Tenorio.
As soon as he had stolen the work, he “was scared and couldn’t believe what a stupid thing he did,” the papers say, according to The Associated Press.
Prosecutors say Istavrioglou stole the painting in broad daylight while visiting the Upper East Side gallery in June.
After pulling it off the wall, he stashed it in a shopping bag and flew with it back to Athens, authorities said.
“It was almost surreal how this theft was committed – a thief is accused of putting a valuable Salvador Dali drawing into a shopping bag in the middle of the afternoon, in full view of surveillance cameras,” District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. said.
After security video images of the man were widely circulated, Istavrioglou panicked, rolled up the watercolour in a cardboard tube and mailed it back to New York without a return address, prosecutors say.
After he was identified by police, investigator posing as an art gallery owner tricked Istavrioglou into returning to New York by offering him a possible position as a consultant.
Federal agents intercepted Istavrioglou at John F. Kennedy International Airport on Saturday.
He pleaded not guilty to grand larceny during a brief court appearance in Manhattan where a judge set bail at $100,000 (roughly £65,000).
PS court should also fine him for stupidity while being actually smart lol