Ocean’s 11 this was not. It was not even The Great Muppet Caper.
But still, it was one of the most brazen art thefts ever pulled off when a man walked out of a busy gallery with a million dollar painting under his arm.
The 31-year-old thief calmly walked into the Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow over the weekend with criminality on his mind and as the CCTV video shows, he simply walked up to the painting, unhooked it from the wall, put it under his arm and walked off, past dozens of people.
In what seems to be a daring case of “act like you belong there,” none of the other people in the room, which was quite crowded, stopped him or really even seemed to take notice.
The painting, Ai Petri.Crimea by Russian painter Arkhip Kuindzhi, was quickly retaken by police and the man, who was identified as Denis Chuprikov, was arrested by Russian police, according to Dmitry Peskov, president Vladimir Putin’s press-secretary.
It seems Denis Chuprikov wasn’t the master art thief that Thomas Crown was or even that the amateur crew in Lock, Stock And Two Smoking Barrels was.
When police arrived at his door and found the painting in his house only hours after it was stolen, Chuprikov was asked where he was earlier in the day and this mastermind could only come up the excuse that he couldn’t “remember very clearly.” So much for an alibi, Danny Ocean.
We don’t know what the punishment is for art thieves in Russia, but we’re guessing that Mr. Chuprikov isn’t going to like it very much.