Thieves Stole a $3.4 Million Brueghel From a Remote Italian Church—or So They Thought.

… Here’s How the Village Tricked Them

The town’s mayor was one of the few people who knew that the real painting was somewhere safe but locals had their suspicions something was up.


The Crucifixion by Pieter Brueghel the Younger that thieves tried to lift from a church in northern Italy on Wednesday.

Nan Stewert, 

An audacious group of robbers made off with a prized 17th-century painting by Flemish painter Pieter Brueghel the Younger from a Church in Northern Italy on Wednesday—or so they thought.

After a tip-off, Italian police covertly switched the Crucifixion for a copy in the church of Santa Maria Maddalena in Castelnuovo Magra, about an hour and a half’s drive from Genoa. The mayor of the small town of around 8,500 residents was in on the secret and a few vigilant members of the congregation, who noticed the picture looked out of place, are reported to have kept silent.

Using a hammer to break the case, the thieves lifted the worthless copy picture and made off in Peugeot car. Police believe two people were involved in the attempted heist.

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