The “balding brazen” art thief who slipped past several guards and cameras at Venus Over Manhattan gallery last June with a $150,000 Salvador Dalí drawing in his bag, was taken into custody by Homeland Security at JFK on Saturday, after an undercover detective posing as a gallery manager lured him back to New York with a prestigious art world job offer.
He never did manage to sell the stolen 1949 Dalí drawing Cartel de Don Juan Tenorio.
The 29-year-old identified as Phivos Istavrioglou pled not guilty yesterday to one count of second-degree grand larceny. Police were able to identify the suspect with prints from a prior shoplifting arrest at Whole Foods, after Istavrioglou had some kind of change of heart about a week after the theft and mailed back the drawing to the gallery in a cardboard tube by Express Mail from Greece.
Oh, Phivos… foiled by a pang of conscience and the illusionary bait of the American Dream.