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The lady vanishes

The tale of an unsophisticated criminal convicted of single-handedly stealing the Mona Lisa

Former Louvre employee Vincenzo Peruggia was arrested in Florence two years following the theft of the ''Mona Lisa'' from the Paris museum. He claimed he stole the masterpiece in order to return it to Italy, the land of Leonardo's birth, though he had tried unsuccessfully to sell the painting several times. The brazen theft is attracting renewed interest as its 100th anniversary approaches. Former Louvre employee Vincenzo Peruggia was arrested in Florence two years following the theft of the ''Mona Lisa'' from the Paris museum. He claimed he stole the masterpiece in order to return it to Italy, the land of Leonardo's birth, though he had tried unsuccessfully to sell the painting several times. The brazen theft is attracting renewed interest as its 100th anniversary approaches. (Paris Prefecture De Police Museum)
By Jonathan Lopez
May 17, 2009

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On Aug. 21, 1911, a journeyman laborer named Vincenzo Peruggia surreptitiously unhooked Leonardo da Vinci's "Mona Lisa" from the walls of the Louvre and headed off to a service stairwell. A former museum employee, Peruggia said he had hidden himself in a seldom-used broom closet the previous afternoon, waiting until Monday morning when the galleries were closed to the public ... (Full article: 818 words)

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