3 Most Famous Art Heists

It is impossible to fully control what happens at art galleries during working and non- working hours. We know that having dozens of security guards and surveillance cams do not do much when thieves come to action. Let’s take a look at the 3 main art gallery heists and see how clever thieves can be.

E.G Burle Foundation Museum – Zurich, Switzerland

Three men walked in this museum back in 2008 and literally changed the history. On February 12, 2008, under broad day light these men stole 4 paintings that were close to the entrance – and that happened to be the most expensive from the whole gallery. Two of the men got the paintings while one pointed guns and made everybody go face the floor. They stole beautiful and expensive paintings such as the Boy in the Red Waistcoat by Paul Cezanne. These 4 stolen paintings were worth $163 million dollars, and such theft was considered to be one of the biggest in Europe.

National Fine Arts Museum – Asuncion, Paraguay

In July 2002, Paraguay had one of the most valuable art exhibitions of all time. Thieves managed to enter the museum and left with 5 of the most important paintings that were worth millions of dollars. Although we all imagine that thieves just break into places and steal, these ones were one step ahead of everyone. They carefully planned the robbery for months. The group of thieves rented a store that was 25 meters away from the museum. For 2 months they dug a passage that went from the shop and that ended right inside of the museum. They managed to dig a 3 meter wide hole and back in July 30, 2002 they finally managed to get into the museum undetected. Some of the stolen paintings were Self Portrait by Esteban Murillo, The Virgin Mary and Jesus by Gustave Coubert and Landscape by AdolphePiot.

These paintings are still missing.

The Henry Moore Foundation – USA

A piece of art that was 3.6 meters long and 1.8 meters tall and wide , weighting over 2 tons was stolen during the night by only 3 men that had the right equipment to do so. Three men managed to steal a piece of art this huge during the night. Henry Moore’s Reclining Figure was stolen with the help of a crane equipped flatbed truck and a mini cooper. On December 2005, during the night 3 thieves loaded their trucks with this huge item that was worth almost $5 million dollars. This artwork was probably cut into several different pieces and sent to countries such as China to be melted and used as scrap metal. 5 million were probably reduced to not over $3.000 dollars of electrical parts of copper.

famous art heist

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Is there a solution then?

It is impossible to say whether or not the security staff will be able to take care of future robberies, however one thing is certain: galleries should invest in insurance. The more they invest in insurance the less the losses would be. Galleries can check the to know more about the different options.

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