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How a Master Thief Stole $2 Billion Worth of Art With Nothing But a Swiss Army Knife On this episode of "Dirty Money," get the story of a sticky-fingered Frenchman who walked out of museums with priceless works under his jacket.

By Dan Bova

Stéphane Breitwieser is perhaps the most prolific art thief who ever lived. From 1994 to 2001, he and his girlfriend/accomplice Anne-Catherine Kleinklaus tore through Europe on a breathtaking crime spree, armed with only a Swiss Army knife. They did this every three weekends out of four, stealing priceless works of art from museums, galleries, and auction houses. Eventually, he amassed a collection that totaled more than 300 works of stolen worth about $2 billion.

But here's the weird part: He never stole all this art to make a profit. He kept all of his stolen treasures in a pair of secret rooms where he could admire them.

Related: Why Do We Let Ourselves Get Scammed?

And if it weren't for one stupid slip-up, he'd probably still be stealing art today. Our guest, Michael Finkel, has written a book about Breitwieser called The Art Thief: A True Story of Love, Crime, and a Dangerous Obsession, which he wrote after conducting a series of interviews with the sticky-fingered Frenchman. Listen in to learn how he pulled off these scams in broad daylight without raising a ruckus, or even his voice.

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About Dirty Money

Dirty Money is a new podcast series from Entrepreneur Media telling the tales of legendary scammers, con artists, and barely-legal lowlifes who stop at nothing to bilk their marks of millions. Hosted by Entrepreneur editors Dan Bova and Jon Small, the podcast takes a deep dive into the deviants behind the deeds.

Dan Bova

Entrepreneur Staff

VP of Special Projects

Dan Bova is the VP of Special Projects at He previously worked at Jimmy Kimmel Live, Maxim, and Spy magazine. His latest books for kids include This Day in History, Car and Driver's Trivia ZoneRoad & Track Crew's Big & Fast Cars, The Big Little Book of Awesome Stuff, and Wendell the Werewolf

Read his humor column This Should Be Fun if you want to feel better about yourself.

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

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