As anyone who has ever watched a good art heist flick knows, the key is in the planning. First, you need to assemble a trustworthy team with a variety of useful skills. You need to choose your targets…and ensure they’re portable. Then, figure out how to gain entry to the building and the specific gallery where they live.
Most importantly, though, you need a good diversion, something that will deflect the attention of onlookers and mask your escape. Pierce Brosnan successfully tripped the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s fire alarms in The Thomas Crown Affair, but maybe he should have taken his cue from a group of real-life thieves in the southern hemisphere.
On the afternoon of February 24, 2006, a group of thieves in Brazil decided to take advantage of the distraction provided by the thousands of dancing spectators who had flooded the streets to celebrate Carnival to rob the Museo Chácara do Céu in Rio de Janeiro. By the time the sequins had settled and the samba music died down, they had successfully absconded with five major works of art and nabbed themselves a coveted spot on the FBI’s Top Ten Art Crimes list.