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Man arrested in New York Dali heist

20 February 2013, 18:51

New York - US authorities said on Tuesday they have arrested a Greek man for making off with a Salvador Dali watercolour and ink painting worth about $150 000 from a New York private art gallery in June.

Phivos Istavrioglou, aged 29, was arrested on Saturday at JFK international airport in a sting that lured him to the United States from Italy, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance announced.

"After surveillance images of a suspect were released to the public, the drawing ... was anonymously mailed back to the gallery from Greece.

"A subsequent investigation led to the arrest and indictment of the defendant, who is charged in New York State Supreme Court with Grand Larceny in the Second Degree," Vance said in a statement.

Famously moustachioed Spanish surrealist painter Salvador Dali's 1949 Cartel de Don Juan Tenorio was on display as part of the Venus Over Manhattan gallery's debut exhibition, which opened in May.

Surveillance video showed the suspect, wearing a black and white shirt and jeans, casually walking out of the Upper East Side art gallery with the painting sticking out of a shopping bag.


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