Spider-Man art thief sentenced to 8 years in prison

Henri Matisse, Pastoral, 1905, oil, 55 x 46 cm. Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, Paris, France

Cat burglar Vjeran Tomic, who stole five masterpieces from Paris’s Museum of Modern Art and whose acrobatic method of breaking into the museum earned him the nickname ‘Spider-Man’ among various news outlets, has been sentenced to eight years in prison by the city’s criminal court, the New York Times reports. Tomic confessed to stealing five masterpieces by Modigliani, Léger, Braque, Matisse and Picasso on 20 May 2010. Two accomplices, antiques dealer Jean-Michel Corvez and clockmaker Yonathan Birn, were also given sentences. In addition to individual fines, all three convicted have been forced to collectively pay a €104 million (c. £88 million) indemnification based on the value of the artworks in 2010. 

While announcing the verdict, the judges said that the crime amounted to the theft of ‘cultural goods belonging to humankind’s artistic heritage’, while Tomic was reported to have said that the stolen Matisse painting, Pastoral (1905), ‘embodied [his] youth’. It is unknown whether the paintings have been sold, hidden or destroyed.

22 February 2017