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The World's Greatest Art Thief

Stephane Breitwieser may be the most astonishing art thief the world has known. While he has acquired over $1.4 billion, he never did it for the money.

Breitwieser explains that he only ever stole art for love, never to sell. He would first inspect a museum for what he wanted, and then find the correct time to make it his own. Unlike the spy movies where one may imagine a dark museum with a loan guard and red lasers, Breitwieser makes very simple moves that make him very hard to find:

Just make sure to get there at lunchtime, Breitwieser stresses, when the visitors thin and the security staff rotates shorthanded to eat. Dress sharply, shoes to shirt, topped by a jacket that's tailored a little too roomy, with a Swiss Army knife stashed in a pocket.

Be friendly at the front desk. Buy your ticket, say hello. Once inside, Breitwieser adds, it's essential to focus. Note the flow of visitor traffic and memorize the exits. Count the guards. Are they sitting or patrolling? Check for security cameras and see if each has a wire—sometimes they're fake.

Read how Breitwieser stole from nearly 200 museums before he was caught over at this article by Michael Finkel at GQ.

Image: Sleeping Shepherd by François Boucher/Rèunion des Musèes Nationaux


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