Written by v2lawblog
A Waiter and certified art collector turned thief Stephane Breitwieser has been dubbed the biggest thief in history.
He is not known for any single heist but rather started stealing paintings and other works of art between March 1995 and November 2001. He admitted to stealing 239 pieces from over 170 museums averaging 1 theft every 15 days. He stole a total of $1.4bn (£960m) worth of art and claims that he did not steal for profit but rather wanted to mass a large private collection of art. At his trial the magistrate quoted him saying “”I enjoy art. I love such works of art. I collected them and kept them at home.” And it was reported that despite the huge collection he was able to recall every piece of art he’d stolen.
Breitwieser spent two years in prison in Switzerland before being extradited to France. In the meantime his mother, who’d, heard of the arrest preceded to destroy most of the works, cutting the pictures out of the frames, carving out sections and throwing other items such as vases, statues and pottery into the nearby Rhone-Rhine Canal. She claimed to the police that she did it out of anger at her son arrest however it is suspected that this was an attempt to destroy incriminating evidence.
Stephane Breitwieser was sentenced on the 7th of January to 3 years, of which he served 26 months. His mother was also sentenced to 3 years serving only 18 months and Breitwiesers girlfriend was sentenced to 18 months for receiving stolen goods.
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