Italy art thieves fooled by fake Brueghel

 

A pair of would-be art thieves believed to have been stealing-to-order fell victim last week to a wily trick by an Italian church and carabinieri who replaced the original with a fake that was then stolen.

On camera.

Rumors surfaced that the painting would be stolen from the church in Castelnuovo Magra, in northwest Italy. Caribinieri arranged for the painting, a Crucifixion by Pieter Brueghel the Elder, to be stored elsewhere, and a fake substituted in the church. Surveillance cameras were also installed.

The two thieves left with the fake painting and are now being sought by police—and possibly by whoever paid them to steal the painting.

The best part of every trip is realizing that it has upset your expectations

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This is an odd story.  One might presume (according to novels I read) that on-camera surveillance is best accompanied by in-person back-up, rather than just let the thieves go on their way.  Now they might as well return for the real thing while the caribinieri are visiting their cousins.  Or maybe therein lies the wily trick, a 2nd fake? 

I had similar thoughts while reading the original reports, and of all the cliches about Italy that they brought to mind. It would fit especially well into Andrea Camilleri's Detective Montalbano series.

The best part of every trip is realizing that it has upset your expectations

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