LOST AND FOUND MASTERPIECES
Gauguin, “Tahitian Landscape,” 2003
Some very deft thieves managed to outwit guards, evade alarms, and skirt security cameras at the Manchester Whitworth Gallery in April 2003 to swipe Paul Gauguin’s Tahitian Landscape, Vincent van Gogh’s Fortifications, and Pablo Picasso’s Poverty. Though police assumed the criminals made off with the works, valued at approximately $8 million, they were pleasantly surprised to see the famed artwork jammed into a cardboard tube behind a toilet in a public restroom less than a quarter mile from the gallery. The thieves had attached a handwritten note that read: “We didn't intend to steal these paintings, just to highlight the woeful security.” While authorities assumed the suspects had less noble intentions and simply realized that it’d be impossible to resell the works, Whitworth did heed their warning and up its security. “I think that the psychology of this theft shows somebody had a grudge against the institution or certain people in the institution,” Whitworth director Alistair Smith told the BBC.