Art thief accused of stealing Dalí painting busted at JFK Airport

Photo courtesy of the New York County District Attorney's Office


A man wanted for swiping a valuable Salvador Dalí painting from a Madison Avenue art gallery was arrested at JFK Airport and indicted Tuesday for grand larceny, announced Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance.

According to court documents and statements, Phivos Istavrioglou, 29, of Milan, walked into the Venus Over Manhattan gallery on June 19 where he the lifted the $150,000 watercolor painting off the wall and placed it into a shopping bag, in perfect range of surveillance cameras.

“It was almost surreal how the theft was committed,” said Vance.

A little over a week later,  on June 28, the NYPD discovered the watercolor in a cardboard shipping tube at JFK Airport, intercepting it from Greece.

Istavrioglou was identified by matching a finger print found in the Salvador Dalí theft with that found on a Blueprint juice that was shoplifted last year from a Manhattan Whole Foods.

He was then detained on February 16 upon arrival at JFK, after he was duped by an undercover detective who posed as a business manager for an art gallery.




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