10 Impressive Art Heists


A New York Art Warehouse, 1987

Sometimes it's hard to sell fake artwork, so a London art dealer and a Manhattan antiques dealer came up with a plan to steal from themselves and still get paid. The antiques dealer, Nedjatollah Sakhai, hired a gang to rob a Queens warehouse filled with forged goods. The art dealer, Houshang Mahboubian, owned the warehouse and all of the tacky "treasures" inside. Afterward, Mahboubian planned to file a claim and collect $18 million from his insurers [source:Johnson].

But, like Mahboubian's failed attempts to sell the forged artworks in the first place, the planned robbery was a bust. After receiving a tip, police staked out the warehouse and waited for the would-be burglars to arrive.

Although convicted of conspiracy, burglary and attempted grand larceny, Sakhai and Mahboubian maintained their innocence. Later, the case file grew as 13 other defendants pleaded guilty to charges stemming from the case.

In contrast, the next heist on our list involved just one lone thief.