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.
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.