A Cruise Ship Claims a Vacationing Couple Stole Sculptures From Its Gallery While at Sea

Apparently, not everyone boards a cruise ship solely in the hopes of enjoying a relaxing vacation. In late September, a couple of thieving tourists saw their cruise from Baltimore to Bermuda as the perfect opportunity to pull off a heist, according to the FBI.

After the ship’s auctioneer noticed that two artworks worth nearly $13,000 were missing on October 1, it didn’t take long to track the culprits down, even though these sly sightseers had already disembarked. Surveillance footage was reviewed and revealed a man and a woman sneaking into the ship’s art gallery empty-handed at around 2am. They left with items “consistent in appearance with the missing sculptures,” said the FBI.

The man was quickly identified as an employee of a trucking company after an FBI agent found his Facebook profile. He had boldly shared public snaps of himself on holiday in the same outfit that he can be seen wearing in the incriminating videos.

The pilfered pieces included a lucite sculpture by American artist Robert Wyland called Kiss the Sea, which contains two turtles suspended in transparent plastic, and Marcus Glen‘s Tappin’ the Keys for the Love, which is similar in style but contains a man playing the piano inside a heart. These limited-edition pieces were valued at $6,200 and $6,600, respectively, according to court documents.

After the FBI were granted a search warrant, they recovered the artworks from the suspects’ homes. No legal action has yet been taken against the accused, but charges of theft and transportation of stolen goods may still be filed, according to court documents.

It seems some cruises boast a wider range of activities than just hanging poolside, bingo nights, and perhaps the odd dance class. On its website, Carnival Cruise Line boasts an art gallery and auction program conducted by the Michigan-based Park West Gallery, which specializes in sales held at sea. The cruise line invites guests to “sip some champagne, browse the gallery, and bid on a piece to take home as a trip memento.” Nowhere, however, does it suggest secretly slipping a small statue into your purse or pocket.


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