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ELI5: Why do people steal high profile art pieces, when they could not sell it to anyone or kept without suspicion?(r/explainlikeimfive)
Seeing a lot of bullshit in this thread. Most art is then ransomed back to the place where it was stolen from. If the ransom is not paid, it is usually abandoned, destroyed or lost.
The idea of the reclusive millionaire seeking to expand his collection of Van Goghs or a black market filled with eager foreign buyers is largely a myth, as is the idea of mastercriminals doing it for the intellectual challenge.
For high value heists, stealing art is usually a lot easier than jewellery or cash because security in art museums is often terrible. A velvet rope is the only barrier, paintings can be lifted off the wall, some old guard who is half asleep. Bring a fake gun and you can pretty much walk out with it. However the difficulty in selling it on and the awkward nature of storing and moving paintings makes it not worth the risk to do anything more complicated than just ransom it back within a few days.