Here’s an art heist that didn’t inspire any Ocean’s Eleven sequels but would possibly make for a feel-true family comedy. Italian police introduced Wednesday that thieves who thought they stole a €three million ($three.4 million) painting with the aid of 17th-century Flemish grasp Pieter Brueghel the Younger—and from a church, no less—took off with a forgery at some stage in a police sting assisted employing nearby townspeople, the Guardian reports. “Rumors were circulating that a person may want to thieve the paintings, and so the police determined to place it in a safe place, replacing it with a replica and putting in some cameras,” stated Daniele Montebello, mayor of Castelnuovo Magra. The portrait, which depicts the crucifixion, was donated to the small Ligurian town’s Santa Maria Maddalena church over a century ago and has seen its truthful percentage of the journey. The masterpiece was hidden from German soldiers in World War II and once stolen in 1981.
(Luckily, the police recovered it a few months later.) So, when the carabinieri heard the painting was another chance, they quickly saved it and replaced it with a replica. “We had sworn to the carabinieri to maintain mum, so in the beginning, I needed to act like I became desperate and faux grief over the loss,” Montebello said, in step with the New York Times. Not handiest did the mayor must feign disappointment after thieves broke the church’s defensive glass and fled with the forgery in a white Peugeot getaway vehicle. However, some suspicious residents had to play along. According to the BBC, Montebello informed the nearby press that “a few devoted had observed that the only on display became now not the authentic, however, did no longer screen the secret.” Be it karma, divine intervention, or undeniable antique correct police paintings, the NYT reviews that even though Montebello didn’t recognize if the thieves were identified or arrested, it is “best to be counted of time.”