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The Perfect Crime--Gone Girl!

September 20, 2017

Part One of this story can be found (here).


I wasn’t first to question whether or not Vincenzo Perugia had the wherewithal to pull off a master caper, even though it wouldn’t have taken a genius to steal a painting from the Louvre in 1911. The Louvre has over four hundred rooms and only two hundred guards and employees in 1911. Paintings were often removed from walls for cleaning or restoration and it wasn’t known that the Mona Lisa had been stolen for over twenty-four hours. Most museums at the time had poor security and little insurance. Stealing wasn’t difficult, but what to do with a famous painting once you’d stolen it? So much publicity surrounded the theft of the Mona Lisa that it would have been nearly impossible to sell. Or was it?


Anyone willing to purchase the heisted painting would not be able to acknowledge the acquisition because the painting would be seized and returned to the Louvre, yet we know that Perugia sought money for the painting, blowing a massive hole in the notion he stole the Mona Lisa for patriotic reasons. I believe someone else was behind the theft and Perugia was duped into becoming an accomplice.


Assuming I’m right and Perugia stole Mona Lisa on behalf of someone else, imagine how he must have felt when Mr. Big didn’t contact him. Perugia must have gone crazy waiting for his money and the transference of the Renaissance masterpiece. Why then wasn’t he contacted? Why was he left hanging?




Mona Lisa recovered


Several theories have been proposed, the most convincing coming in 1914. Months before Perugia’s trial began, a veteran American newspaperman named Karl Decker was on assignment in Casablanca. While having a drink with an elegant confidence man who went by the name Eduardo, he overheard an interesting story that would shed new light on the disappearance of the Mona Lisa. Eduardo had many aliases, but to his associates he was known as the Marqués de Valfierno or the “Marquis of the Vale of Hell.” With a white mustache and wavy white hair, he looked the part. He had, wrote Decker, “a distinction that would have taken him past any royal-palace gate in Europe.”


After gaining Valfierno’s confidence, Decker heard Valfierno mention Vincenzo Perugia, referring to him as, ““that simp who helped us get the Mona Lisa.” Valfierno gave Decker details about the theft under the condition that his identity be kept secret until Valfierno gave permission to release the story, or died, which happened in 1932 when Decker’s account of his conversations with Valfierno was published in the Saturday Evening Post. His story was dismissed by many, yet I find it rather convincing, especially since Perugia had been seen in a Paris café having conversations with someone fitting Valfierno’s description.


If Valfierno wanted Perugia to steal the Mona Lisa for him, why did he refuse to contact his accomplice to claim his prize? Probably because he had bigger plans than trying to fence the world’s hottest stolen painting.



Conclusion on Friday. Learn how America was involved in this crime.



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Ooh, a plot twist! Can't wait for the conclusion.
By: PT Dilloway on September 20, 2017
and the plot thickens! Fascinating story.
By: Kathe W. on September 20, 2017
This intriguing and starts to make more sense. It's funny that when I have watched shows about this theft they never mention this article written by Decker...I wonder why??
By: Birgit on September 20, 2017
Did he just want to mess with everyone?
By: Alex J. Cavanaugh on September 20, 2017
Alex, No. The theft was part of an ingenious plan.
By: Chubby Chatterbox on September 20, 2017
I love ingenious plans. I look forward to the rest of the story. Love, Janie
By: Janie Junebug on September 20, 2017
Waiting with bated breath.
By: cranky on September 20, 2017
A great cliff hanger!!!!
By: Tom Cochrun on September 20, 2017
Wait! I thought this was going to be the ending! That'll teach me to assume!
By: Val on September 20, 2017
It was ingenious, but in the end it failed, most likely because Perugia just got tired of waiting for the money he'd been promised. In the end, the poor sap ended up taking all the heat.
By: messymimi on September 20, 2017
Interesting! I'll be back Friday to read the ending!
By: Marcia @ Menopausal Mother on September 20, 2017
I waited until Wednesday; now I have to wait until Friday?
By: fishducky on September 20, 2017
This is getting interesting.
By: Jimmy on September 21, 2017
how on earth did Perugia hide that painting under his smock and walk out with it?
By: Ellen Abbott on September 21, 2017
Ooh, this is getting really interesting. Can't wait for the movie--please tell us.
By: Arkansas Patti on September 21, 2017
I think I've told you this before: I wish you had been one of my art history profs!
By: Mitchell is Moving on September 21, 2017
If we know Perugia sought money for the painting, doesn't that mean he WAS trying to cash in, and not stealing it for someone else? Maybe Perugia, like most thieves, was just stupid and didn't think ahead . . . . But you know more than I do, so I'm waiting for the reveal.
By: Tom Sightings on September 21, 2017
You got me hooked. Great story. Greetings from London.
By: A Cuban In London on September 21, 2017
Ok, walking over to Friday now. You really know how to keep us in suspense!
By: Pixel Peeper on September 23, 2017
I'm left dangling over a cliff... I don't know if I can hang on much longer....
By: Daniel LaFrance on September 25, 2017

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