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Hammer-wielding thieves steal $100,000 Chagall print from Manhattan gallery


Thieves used hammers to break through a doorway and steal a Marc Chagall print valued at $100,000 from a Manhattan gallery in late September.

The thieves approached Carlton Fine Arts’ location on Madison Avenue in the early morning hours of 25 September and removed the work, Eve, from its easel in the gallery’s storefront display after forcing their way in. Security camera footage captured the event, but no suspects have yet been named.

Gallery owner Charles Saffati told NBC New York he was shocked this type of smash-and-grab heist could happen in such a tony part of Midtown Manhattan. “The St Regis is down the block, you got the Palace Hotel. You got the Peninsula Hotel. It’s a very high-end area, you got Trump Tower two blocks away,” he said. “A lot of police in that area too, so they have to be very brazen to come and do something like that.” His gallery also sits just a few blocks from the Museum of Modern Art, auction houses Christie’s and Phillips, and a concentration of major galleries on 57th Street.

The thieves parked their getaway car a block from the gallery, requiring the purloined Chagall to be carried through the rain before it was placed in the back of a dented 1996 Honda Accord. Though the crime was caught on video, the New York Police Department’s Major Crimes task force is appealing to the public for aid in identifying the criminals.

In the meantime, Saffati said he has upgraded the gallery’s security apparatus. He had to “put in an entire new storefront because we ended up putting security glass, we had to upgrade our alarm system”, he told NBC “We added 24-hour armed security guards. It’s a tremendous cost for us.”

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