Friday, February 22, 2013

A fashion publicist was lured from Milan to New York by undercover police who then arrested and charged him with stealing a $150,000 (£98,000) Salvador Dali painting from a Manhattan gallery in broad daylight.

Phivos Lampros Istavrioglou, 29, is accused of taking the Cartel Des Don Juan Tenorio 1949, simply removing it from the wall at the Venus Over Manhattan gallery last June and placing it inside a shopping bag before leaving.

Days later, after it was stolen in front of security cameras, it was mailed back to the gallery in a cardboard tube, anonymously, from Greece.

Mr Istavrioglou was allegedly identified by police after his fingerprints were lifted from the packaging in which the painting was returned. Police matched the fingerprints to ones already on file after a theft at a Whole Foods store in TriBeCa, New York, early last year.

All that was required was for police to get Mr Istavrioglou back to the US.

After learning that he was in Milan, an undercover officer reportedly posed as the business manager of an art gallery claiming to be interested in hiring Mr Istavrioglou, who is in charge of international media relations at the French-owned Moncler clothing company.
He flew to New York to speak with the 'gallery manager' about the job...more