An art-loving French waiter who stole paintings and other works worth millions of pounds from museums and galleries across Europe was driven by "passion in its purest form", the opening day of his trial heard.
Stéphane Breitwieser, 33, admits helping himself to 239 art treasures, including Lucas Cranach the Elder's 16th century masterpiece, Sybille, Princess of Cleves, valued at up to £5.5 million, during a six-year crime spree.
To the horror of the art world - and, apparently, of Breitwieser - after his arrest in 2001 his mother, Mireille Stengel, chopped up paintings she found in his bedroom and threw the debris into a waste disposal unit and a canal.
Friday, January 07, 2005
A Crime of Passion
A peculiarly French crime reported in today's Telegraph.