International art heist: a thief named ‘Spider Man’ and 100 million euros worth of Picasso, Matisse, Modigliani, Braque and Léger in the bin.
Not since Northern Territory News’ headline “Why I Stuck a Crack up my Clacker: Victim Reveals All,” have I been so intrigued by a news article. But clickbait it is not, true story it is. A trial started this week centered around three men who are accused of being responsible for one of the biggest art heists in history.
Vjeran Tomic aka Spider Man, broke into the Paris Museum of Modern Art in 2010 (the nickname came from his ability to commit robberies by scaling buildings with suction cups etc.). He made his way past ‘failed’ surveillance systems, removed a window without having to cut it, broke the padlock, then crept between rooms without being seen by security guards. Apparently it’s just that easy to break into one of the most famous museums in the world—I smell a rat.
His aim was to steal a Fernand Léger and hopefully a Modigliani on behalf of antique dealer Jean-Michel Corvez, the second man up shit creek in this court case. Spider Man then came across a Matisse, a Picasso and a Braque and had enough hands to steal them too.
Corvez paid for one and kept the rest in his studio until he could find a buyer. Eventually though, he panicked about being found out and showed his friend Yonathon Birn (the third man involved) the €100 odd million of classical art, who did his friend a solid and hid the paintings in his workshop and bank safe.
But, like his friend before him, Birn started to feel the heat. He took the works he’d kept in the safe, and together with the ones kept in his workshop he broke all the stretcher bars on each canvas and chucked all five pieces in the bin. “I threw them into the trash,” said Birn. “I made the worst mistake of my existence.”
Spider Man called bullshit on this in court, saying Birn knew exactly where the paintings were, so he should tell everyone their location. Investigators believe they are somewhere in Israel. In conclusion, the paintings still haven’t been found and probably never will be, all three are likely going to jail for a long time and even if this guy didn’t throw five priceless works of art in the bin, he’s still an utter fuckwit.