If you think that big art heists go down the way we see in Hollywood films like Thomas Crown Affair, well, think again. It seems the security at these art museums aren’t as advanced as one would expect. Last night, a thief walked out of the Paris Museum of Modern Art with some $127 million in paintings by Picasso, Matisse, and Braque. There were no lasers and no temperature-sensitive security systems. Hell, there wasn’t even an alarm.
So what happened in Paris last night? Not much of anything, actually. The museum’s cameras managed to grab a few shots of the crook, who entered by smashing a window and snipping a gird with some bolt cutters, but he didn’t set off any electronic alarms as he collected his five-painting haul, taking the time to remove each from its frame instead of slicing them out with a razor blade, as is common. In fact, one source claims that the museum’s electronic alarm hadn’t been working for two months prior to the theft, so the entire security of the facility was left up to a few night guards—a lot of good they did.
It all just goes to show that while technology is increasingly found in places you might not expect it—WiFi on airplanes and AR codes in the Sunday paper—sometimes it’s nowhere to be found in the places you do expect it. People who visited the museum today were greeted with a sign explaining that the museum was closed for “technical reasons.” It really meant the lack thereof.