By Tim Binnall
A Russian ne'er-do-well with an apparent taste for the finer things in life is being 'credited' with pulling off a rather bizarre and oddly nonchalant art heist. The weird incident reportedly occurred on Sunday during an exhibition at Moscow's Tretyakov Gallery. The showing seemingly drew a sizeable number of people and, among them, was an individual who wanted something beyond what was available in the gift shop.
As captured by a security camera at the museum, the sticky-fingered miscreant can be seen waltzing up to one work and admiring it alongside his fellow patrons of the arts. He then brazenly reaches up, plucks the painting from the wall, and walks away as people nearby look on in amazement. A second piece of footage from the heist shows the man subsequently strolling through the lobby of the museum while casually carrying the painting as one might a shopping bag and no one seems to notice anything amiss.
Fortunately, authorities in Russia quickly set about catching the thief who had just pilfered a landscape painting from 1908 that has been valued at a whopping $182,000. After posting the footage online, police were able to locate and arrest the 31-year-old man, who confessed to taking the artwork and stashing it in a nearby building, where it was subsequently recovered and, presumably, returned to the museum.