Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Art of the Heist

Art aficionados the world round were shocked to hear that the famous "Poppy Flowers" painting was cut from it's frame and stolen in broad daylight on Sunday. The work by Van Gogh, worth around 50 million dollars, went missing from the Mahmoud Khalil museum in Cairo, sparking controversy over the lack of security. Despite holding around 1.2 billion dollars worth of art and original paintings by Van Gogh, Degas and Monet, only 7 of the 43 security cameras were working and none of alarms attached to individual paintings were turned on.

The utter lack of security is almost comical, unless of course you are the culture minister or one of the four museum employees who ended up behind bars amidst claims of negligence. All five have been charged and are currently facing trial, but many feel it is just a smokescreen; they could not have been the only people who knew of the museum's security problems as it is not the first time "Poppy Flowers" has been stolen. In 1978, the work was taken from the museum in much the same manner only to be found over two years later in an undisclosed Kuwait location.

The theft has left Egyptian officials red-faced and scrambling to find the perpetrators by alerting all points of exit from the country and promising a massive security overhaul. However, despite claims to the contrary on Sunday night, the fugitives are still at large. The only upside to the whole debacle is the possibility that George Clooney and the Oceans 11 team have found the screenplay for "Oceans 14: Vanishing Van Gogh"...

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