Man charged with taking Dali work from NYC gallery - New York News

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>>

  • Almost all NYC pre-K centers ready

    Almost all NYC pre-K centers ready

    Friday, August 22 2014 7:48 PM EDT2014-08-22 23:48:37 GMT
    Nearly all 1,100 facilities providing services in the city's new universal pre-kindergarten program are ready to open on time after passing health and safety inspections. City officials said Friday they expect the eight remaining pre-K schools to remedy violations by Sept. 4's opening day. If they don't, affected children will be temporarily enrolled in other facilities.
    Nearly all 1,100 facilities providing services in the city's new universal pre-kindergarten program are ready to open on time after passing health and safety inspections. City officials said Friday they expect the eight remaining pre-K schools to remedy violations by Sept. 4's opening day. If they don't, affected children will be temporarily enrolled in other facilities.
  • Mark David Chapman

    John Lennon's killer denied parole again

    John Lennon's killer denied parole again

    Friday, August 22 2014 4:10 PM EDT2014-08-22 20:10:09 GMT
    John Lennon's killer was denied release from prison in his eighth appearance before a parole board, New York corrections officials said Friday. The decision on Mark David Chapman by a three-member board came after a hearing Wednesday, the state Department of Corrections said. Chapman fired five shots on Dec. 8, 1980, outside the Dakota apartment house where Lennon lived on Manhattan's Upper West Side, hitting the ex-Beatle four times.
    John Lennon's killer was denied release from prison in his eighth appearance before a parole board, New York corrections officials said Friday. The decision on Mark David Chapman by a three-member board came after a hearing Wednesday, the state Department of Corrections said. Chapman fired five shots on Dec. 8, 1980, outside the Dakota apartment house where Lennon lived on Manhattan's Upper West Side, hitting the ex-Beatle four times.
  • Official: NYPD body cameras are 'win-win'

    Official: NYPD body cameras are 'win-win'

    Thursday, August 21 2014 9:02 PM EDT2014-08-22 01:02:35 GMT
    Public Advocate Letitia James says a 3-ounce camera, if used correctly, could be a key tool in improving community and police relations. She showed off one of the cameras she believes NYPD patrol officers need to be wearing. She said that the cameras would be a "win-win" for the public, transparency, police accountability improving police community relations, reducing civil liability.
    Public Advocate Letitia James says a 3-ounce camera, if used correctly, could be a key tool in improving community and police relations. She showed off one of the cameras she believes NYPD patrol officers need to be wearing. She said that the cameras would be a "win-win" for the public, transparency, police accountability improving police community relations, reducing civil liability.
  • Local NewsLocal NewsMore>>

  • Friday Night Live: August 22, 2014

    Friday Night Live: August 22, 2014

    Friday, August 22 2014 10:34 PM EDT2014-08-23 02:34:20 GMT
    This is Fox 5's Friday Night Live, a weekly celebration of the end of the work week. All summer long, the Fox 5 team brings you the latest in entertainment, nightlife, food, and music in our area. In this episode: Ace Frehley, Big Sean, Week End Trends, and Chef Luca Manfé of MasterChef.
    This is Fox 5's Friday Night Live, a weekly celebration of the end of the work week. All summer long, the Fox 5 team brings you the latest in entertainment, nightlife, food, and music in our area. In this episode: Ace Frehley, Big Sean, Week End Trends, and Chef Luca Manfé of MasterChef.
  • Berg'n: new beer and food hall in Brooklyn

    Berg'n: new beer and food hall in Brooklyn

    Friday, August 22 2014 10:00 PM EDT2014-08-23 02:00:35 GMT
    The guys behind the Brooklyn Flea and Smorgasburg are at it again with a new food and booze venue called Berg'n, a new beer hall in Crown Heights. The place doesn't officially open until August 27, 2014, but owners Eric Demby and Jonathan Butler are giving it a test run for special guests, family, and the press.
    The guys behind the Brooklyn Flea and Smorgasburg are at it again with a new food and booze venue called Berg'n, a new beer hall in Crown Heights. The place doesn't officially open until August 27, 2014, but owners Eric Demby and Jonathan Butler are giving it a test run for special guests, family, and the press.
  • Giving your college-bound kids their space

    Giving your college-bound kids their space

    Friday, August 22 2014 9:31 PM EDT2014-08-23 01:31:50 GMT
    Going off to college is an exciting time for the entire family, especially for the upcoming freshman. But with technology, parents can be in touch all the time. What's too much and what's just enough? Freshman move-in day seems to be harder on the parents than the students at Stony Brook University.
    Going off to college is an exciting time for the entire family, especially for the upcoming freshman. But with technology, parents can be in touch all the time. What's too much and what's just enough? Freshman move-in day seems to be harder on the parents than the students at Stony Brook University.
Powered by WorldNow
Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | New Terms of Service What's new | Ad Choices