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Art Thieves Are Only Cool in the Movies

Art sleuth is internationally recognized for his dedication to returning work to its rightful owners

Stole Art Superhero

Art theft is problematic for many reasons. Besides robbing the owners, or the public, of the joy of seeing the stolen art, many works are damaged as they make their way toward buyers. — Photo by Corbis

According to artinfo.com, these are the top five art heist flicks:

  • The Thomas Crown Affair
  • Entrapment
  • Ocean's 12
  • Once a Thief
  • Hudson Hawk

See also: Tower Heist with Eddy Murphy and Ben Stiller.

But in spite of how it may be represented in Hollywood movies, art theft is neither glamorous nor heroic; it's a serious and dangerous criminal enterprise. The World War II era was rife with instances of theft by the Nazis; and several high-profile cases, such as a daring raid in 1990 on the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, have brought attention to these singular crimes.

Independent audio producer Nancy Greenleese profiles Howard Spiegler, a lawyer who has developed unique expertise in recovering high profile works of art, including many with complicated international histories. Listen with the audio player above.

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