For several nights before the theft, workmen at a construction
site near the National Gallery had left a ladder lying in plain view. In the
dark of night a few hours before the museum break-in, the thieves walked off
with it. (The building site happened to be at Norway's largest newspaper,
Verdens Gang. For crooks with a taste for publicity, it was a sweet touch
that a newspaper whose job would be to shout out the story had itself played a
bit part in the break-in.)
The day before the heist, the thieves stole two cars, a Mazda
and an Audi.
Both were in good condition and roomy, well-suited to fast
driving and awkward cargo. The Mazda was the getaway car. The thieves drove a
few blocks to where they had parked the Audi and transferred The Scream
to the second car, in case anyone at the museum had seen them flee. Then they
split up and drove off in different directions.
Within hours, everyone with a television set, in every country
in the world, knew about the theft. In Norway, while excited reporters chattered
for the cameras, chagrined officials at the National Gallery picked out a
gift-shop poster of their lost masterpiece. The day before, The Scream had reigned in glory. Now a cheap poster in a flimsy frame hung in its place.
Beneath the poster, a hand-lettered sign read simply: stolen!
A Man Called Intrepid author dies aged 89(Dec 03 2013) William Stevenson, a journalist and author who drew on his close ties with intelligence sources to write two best-selling books in the 1970s, A Man Called...