Paging Hollywood! Seven armed robbers accused of trying to steal $31 million in art from the Beaux Arts museum in Nice, France, claimed today that that they were, in fact, entrapped by the FBI and would never have attempted the crime without provocation of an undercover agent.
The men brandished pistols and hand grenades as they made off with Pieter Bruegel the Elder’s Allegory of
Mr. Wittman dismissed their defense as self-serving:
“I don’t think anything I did ‘encouraged’ anyone to obtain Chechen hand grenades and semi automatic pistols in order to commit armed robbery. It is a fanciful defense at best, at worst, it is a defense of desperation used only when criminals are caught.”
Mr. Wittman is now retired, but apparently hoped to connect with a network of black market dealers through this heist, with the long-term goal of recovering the $300 million in art famously stolen from Boston’s Isabella Stewart Gardner museum in 1990.