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An unusual museum heist: A man smuggled a painting into the building

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

This week, the world learned of a security breach at an art museum in Germany, but not the kind you might expect. In fact, there was more art in the museum after the incident than there was before.

AILSA CHANG, HOST:

That's right. The scene of the crime was the Pinakothek der Moderne in Munich. According to a local paper, the culprit was a 51-year-old service technician at the museum who also happens to be an artist.

SHAPIRO: Well, back in February, while the museum was closed, he smuggled in one of his own pieces, a 2-by-4-foot painting, and he hung it up in the museum's modern art collection.

CHANG: A museum spokesperson told the Guardian that staff spotted the new artwork shortly after opening, but they decided to leave the painting up all day before taking it down that night.

SHAPIRO: Now, if you're wondering, the museum has not described what the painting depicted, but the spokesperson did say, quote, "we did not receive any positive feedback on the addition from visitors to the gallery."

CHANG: (Laughter) The local paper says the employee was let go but faces no major charges other than possible property damage for the two small holes he drilled in the wall.

(SOUNDBITE OF JAY DEE AND J DILLA SONG, "THINK TWICE") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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Michael Levitt
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