Art Heist


“Fishing Boats” by Irma Stern

In this week’s edition of Dumb Thieves Bungling Art Heists, today we have a story all the way out of South Africa, where last November a group of three art enthusiasts, posing as a teacher guiding around two students, stole five pieces from the Pretoria Museum. The art was estimated at around $2 million dollars, with works by prominent South African artists including Irma Stern, Gerard Sekoto, Maggie Laubser, and Hugo Naude. They initially stole a 6th, more valuable painting, “Two Malay Musicians” by Stern, only to THROW IT ON THE CURB out front of the museum when it didn’t fit in their car. I can’t even. If you are committed enough to holding a museum at gunpoint to make off with stolen art, at least have the common sense to measure the backseat of your hooptie before absconding with the goods. Amateurs! Also, who throws art on the ground?!

Four out of the five paintings were recovered in (get this) a cemetery 700 miles away in Port Elizabeth just a few days later. Because obviously. I hope police can fingerprint the paintings now that they’ve been recovered because I’d really love to know who tried to pull this off. Also I want to ridicule them a little bit.

11 thoughts on “Art Heist

  1. yeah, take measurements. or get a van at least. geez. obviously these guys weren’t the art loving eccentric criminal masterminds we were discussing before.

    the perceptive/proportions in that painting is really interesting. and though i am terrified of water (like lakes and oceans, not just water in general :)) i always love paintings with boats. xoxo

  2. “Also I want to ridicule them a little bit.”
    A little bit? Oh, I think they deserve a lot more ridicule than that!

    There really is no hope for some people, is there?
    This reminds me of the getaway driver in Lock, Stock And Two Smoking Barrels who struggled to get into (and out of) his car – SO funny! :D x

  3. They brought a car – hooptie – to an art heist?! What museum did they think they were stealing from, the museum of stamps? Anyway, happy to read that all the pieces were recovered, which I hope leads the police straight to the criminals. Well, we can hope. (Really enjoying all these art heist posts.)

  4. Ummm what? I can’t even wrap my brain around this. Some people have way too much free time…or maybe they need more time to make a better plan.

  5. I am loving your art heist stories! This story sounds like dumb & dumber planned the heist. You have to do your research first, find out the size of the paintings and get the right getaway car. Duh! I could do a better job than this ;)

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