Man charged with taking Dali work from NYC gallery - Los Angeles Local News | FOX 11 LA KTTV

Man charged with taking Dali work from NYC gallery

Posted: Updated:

TOM HAYS, Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) — A Greek man proved inept at the art of thievery by swiping a Salvador Dali painting from a New York City gallery as security cameras rolled and, in a panic, later trying to send it back anonymously, authorities said Tuesday.

Phivos Istavrioglou also left fingerprints that helped detectives track him down — another misstep in a botched fine art caper that even he found foolish, according to an account of a confession contained in court papers.

The second Istavrioglou walked out of the Manhattan gallery last summer with the Dali watercolor and onto Fifth Avenue, he "was scared and couldn't believe what a stupid thing he did," the papers say.

Istavrioglou, 29, of Athens, pleaded not guilty Tuesday to grand larceny during a brief court appearance in Manhattan at which a judge set bail at $100,000. His attorney had no immediate comment.

Prosecutors accused Istavrioglou of stealing "Cartel de Don Juan Tenorio" in broad daylight while visiting New York in June. After pulling it off the wall at the Upper East Side gallery, he stashed it in a shopping bag and flew with it back to Athens, authorities said.

"It was almost surreal how this theft was committed — a thief is accused of putting a valuable Salvador Dali drawing into a shopping bag in the middle of the afternoon, in full view of surveillance cameras," District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. said.

Shortly after learning authorities had distributed security photos of him that were seen around the world, Istavrioglou took the $150,000 work out of its frame. He then rolled it up in a cardboard tube — "in a manner befitting a college dorm poster" — and mailed it back to New York without a return address, prosecutor Jordan Arnold said.

New York Police Department detectives lifted fingerprints from the shipment that matched one from a juice bottle that they say Istavrioglou shoplifted last year from a Whole Foods market, giving them a name, police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said. An investigator posing as an art gallery owner later tricked Istavrioglou into returning to New York by offering him a possible position as a consultant.

Federal agents intercepted Istavrioglou at John F. Kennedy International Airport on Saturday. While speaking to detectives that afternoon, court papers say, he "indicated he knew the theft would catch up to him and wants to make (the) situation right."

 

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

  • Manhattan NewsManhattan NewsMore>>

  • Superstorm Sandy

    NYU Langone unveils rebuilt emergency room

    NYU Langone unveils rebuilt emergency room

    Thursday, April 24 2014 5:51 PM EDT2014-04-24 21:51:07 GMT
    A year and a half after Superstorm Sandy hit New York, a major city emergency facility that was destroyed finally fully reopened Thursday — with waterproof walls. Gov. Andrew Cuomo joined Mayor Bill de Blasio and other dignitaries to celebrate the emergency complex at the NYU Langone Medical Center, which is now triple the size of the old one and equipped with the latest technology.
    A year and a half after Superstorm Sandy hit New York, a major city emergency facility that was destroyed finally fully reopened Thursday — with waterproof walls. Gov. Andrew Cuomo joined Mayor Bill de Blasio and other dignitaries to celebrate the emergency complex at the NYU Langone Medical Center, which is now triple the size of the old one and equipped with the latest technology.
  • Camilla's brother dies in New York of head injury

    Camilla's brother dies in New York of head injury

    Thursday, April 24 2014 6:33 AM EDT2014-04-24 10:33:49 GMT
    Mark Shand, the brother-in-law of the Prince of Wales died Wednesday after falling outside a hotel bar and suffering a head injury, police said. Mark Shand, the brother of Prince Charles' wife, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, was in New York for a charity auction at Sotheby's.
    Mark Shand, the brother-in-law of the Prince of Wales died Wednesday after falling outside a hotel bar and suffering a head injury, police said. Mark Shand, the brother of Prince Charles' wife, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, was in New York for a charity auction at Sotheby's.
  • Deep split in Port Authority over unfinished WTC tower

    Deep split in Port Authority over unfinished WTC tower

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 9:03 PM EDT2014-04-24 01:03:40 GMT
    Board members of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey revealed a deep split Wednesday over the agency's role in effecting the completion of the long-delayed 3 World Trade Center project, with some commissioners lauding the effort and others expressing grave concerns. The discussion at the monthly board meeting offered a rare glimpse into the negotiations that have been going on behind the scenes in recent months.
    Board members of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey revealed a deep split Wednesday over the agency's role in effecting the completion of the long-delayed 3 World Trade Center project, with some commissioners lauding the effort and others expressing grave concerns. The discussion at the monthly board meeting offered a rare glimpse into the negotiations that have been going on behind the scenes in recent months.
Powered by WorldNow

KTTV FOX 11
1999 S. Bundy Dr.
Los Angeles CA 90025

Main: (310) 584-2000
News Tips? (310) 584-2025

Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Ad Choices