Stéphane Breitwieser is perhaps the most prolific art thief who ever lived. From 1994 to 2001, he and his girlfriend/accomplice Anne-Catherine Kleinklaus tore through Europe on a breathtaking crime spree, armed with only a Swiss Army knife. They did this every three weekends out of four, stealing priceless works of art from museums, galleries, and auction houses. Eventually, he amassed a collection that totaled more than 300 works of stolen worth about $2 billion.
But here’s the weird part: He never stole all this art to make a profit. He kept all of his stolen treasures in a pair of secret rooms where he could admire them.
Related: Why Do We Let Ourselves Get Scammed?
And if it weren’t for one stupid slip-up, he’d probably still be stealing art today. Our guest, Michael Finkel, has written a book about Breitwieser called The Art Thief: A True Story of Love, Crime, and a Dangerous Obsession, which he wrote after conducting a series of interviews with the sticky-fingered Frenchman. Listen in to learn how he pulled off these scams in broad daylight without raising a ruckus, or even his voice.
About Dirty Money
Dirty Money is a new podcast series from Entrepreneur Media telling the tales of legendary scammers, con artists, and barely-legal lowlifes who stop at nothing to bilk their marks of millions. Hosted by Entrepreneur editors Dan Bova and Jon Small, the podcast takes a deep dive into the deviants behind the deeds.