Subtitles section Play video Print subtitles the Mona Lisa was stolen by that horrible tyrant, Napoleon Bonaparte. Well, it wouldn't be in the hands of those French bullies for long. Vincenzo Perugia was going to commit the greatest theft of the twentieth century, and the French could kiss his cool. Oh, he didn't even much like that grinning damsel, the girl who perpetually looks a sconce at all the fawning fans that sit it or alter. But it would be hiss, and one day it would be returned to its rightful owners. Mr. Perugia was an audacious thief. He was a celebrated patriot, and he almost pulled it off. Almost he would have if it weren't for those pesky backstabbing weasels. Okay, so we get. Some of you aren't familiar with the Mona Lisa, Not everyone's an art critic. And when you've grown up on a strict diet of grand theft auto in days of our lives, there's not much time for classical art. The Mona Lisa is a big deal. It's the most visited, best known and most parodied artwork in the world. It's also expensive. It holds the record for the insurance value of an artwork that was one hundred million dollars back in nineteen sixty two, which is around eight hundred fifty eight million in today's money. Why so expensive? What's so special about it? Well, we're talking about the art world, a topsy turvy world that doesn't make much sense. You could scribble with paint like a child in the painting might fetch over forty six million dollars or paint something that looks like you might paint a bedroom wall and you might get over eighty four million. So while there's no doubt that the Mona Lisa took a bit more effort and skill the paint than some atrocious and plausibly expensive modern art, it's not really any better than many paintings created by people living out of trailers and surviving on rations of hostess Twinkies. The art world deems the Mona Lisa valuable, and that's that it is valuable for this reason. Thousands of people go to see it every day at the loop in France, and that's why it's kept behind bulletproof glass. We should also say the amazing story you're about to hear is added a lot to its value. Who is the woman? She looks pretty drab and unprepossessing, to be honest, albeit she's a shifty looking gal that looks quite pleased with herself. Maybe that's because under those dark robe, she's hiding the cheese. She just stole that or she just let one rip. Okay, enough of the childishness. She was painted by Leonardo da Vinci at the beginning of the fifteen hundreds. She was the wife of a fairly well off merchant named Francesco del Gioconda. Oh, a man who liked younger women, namely Lisa Del Gioconda, who married him at the young age of fifteen. Hey, her dowry was one hundred seventy Florence, so her family was content with the deal. Mona or Mona likely relates to the word Madonna or just Lady and short. People in the past like this painting a lot. Some people thought Lisa was quite the hottie. She ended up with kings of France, and once she adorned the bedroom wall of Napoleon, people said she was enchanting, captivating, mysterious one nineteenth century art critic. When is far to call her a vampire? When the twentieth century rolled around, she was dubbed one of the greatest artworks of all time, and then she went missing for a long time. Now we welcome to this story one, Vincenzo Perugia, the man that would become a national and, to some extent, an international hero. We won't bore you with all that early life stuff. Well, we couldn't if we tried because we don't know much about a young Peru Jha. We do know that he was fond of art. We also know that he had a job at the loop. One of his test in that job was to protect the paintings. You see, some folks back then were a bit peeved that artworks could be so expensive with them subsisting on bread and butter after all. And at times they go to the museum and spit at the paintings. Sometimes they attack works of art with a razor blade. For this reason, some really valuable paintings were protected by glass cages. Guess who was one of the guys responsible for making and fitting those cages? None other than Mr Perugia making cages wasn't exactly a money spinner. And as the story goes, perusal lived hand to mouth. He disliked aspects of France as much as he disliked hunger. But he also loved art. Okay, so you're broke and you love art. What do you do? You steal paintings? Of course he also hated the fact that Napoleon had looted the Mona Lisa from Italy. He was actually laboring under a misapprehension here because Napoleon didn't plunder the painting at all. Leonardo died while he was living in the court of King Friends, while the first the king kept the painting. So one day workers at the museum where a little shocked to see their most treasured painting gone, The cops turned up and said, OK, this must have been done by some kind of criminal mastermind. He must have broken into the museum and hit. Then when the place was closed, he must have came out of hiding, taken the painting and left through the backdoor. Not true when peruse. A was no longer working at the loo if he did have a white smog, the same as other museum workers head. So when he walked in the front door with him on on a Monday morning, no one thought much about it. He was one of them. He knew the Mona Lisa was hung in the part of the museum called the Salon Career. When that was empty, he lifted the painting along with the case off the wall. After that he crept to a staircase and started to take the painting out of the case. He built it. After all, The funny thing was only minutes before all this happened. The lose maintenance director, a guy named PK, had looked at the painting and remarked to a co worker, They say it's worth a million and a half. Some folks said that he must have hidden the painting painted on wood under its smoke, but the fact is he was just too short to get away with that. What really happened is he took office smoke, wrapped it around the painting, put the bundle under his arm and headed for a back door. Now there was a small problem. Peru's A had somehow gotten the key for that door, but when he arrived there, the key didn't work. He'd used the same screwdriver. He used to get the painting off the frame to take off the door handle. That didn't help much. Then the Onley man, ever to see Peru via a plumber named Sylvia, turned up. The thief told him he couldn't get through the door, so survey produced a pair of pliers and managed to open it mercy. Be cool, the plumber said. It was best I leave the door open so others might get through. To which Peruvian nodded his head. He was seen out in the street carrying an object, but no one thought anything of it. One person saw men throw something to the side that turned out to be the door knob. Okay, so that's not quite the crime of the century in terms of technical brilliance. But he still managed to walk out of a place with one of the most valuable paintings in the world. It was massive news, a British newspaper headline read. Paris has been startled, and the U. S. The Washington Post wrote to the art world was thrown into consternation. The New York Times wrote that the theft had caused such a sensation that Parisians, for the time being, have for gotten the rumors of war. War was about three years away at this point, by the way, the masterful Peruzzi kept the Mona Lisa in his apartment in Paris for a couple of years. Meanwhile, the museum didn't fill the space on the wall. What's funny is the fact that people flocked to see the empty space anyway. The crime became his popular as the painting, and the newspapers couldn't stop writing about it. This only served to make the Mona Lisa even more famous. Investigators grew desperate, and France was very embarrassed by the ordeal. For a time, the country even sealed its borders. People carrying cases were stopped in the street. Checkpoints were set up all around Paris, and cars, trucks and wagons were stopped and searched. The authorities feared that someone would try and take it out of the country, so people's luggage on trains and ships was routed through. When the German Ocean liner Kaiser Wilhelm, the second, turned up in New York City, all its luggage was searched. Why did they discover nothing? One of the enduring rumors was that some rich American art collector had committed the crime or at least commissioned it. Folks whispered that it was the incredibly wealthy, art loving baking magnate J. P. Morgan Jr. Who was behind the theft. He denied the accusations and even said a million dollars and no questions asked if someone just handed it in. That would have netted Peruzzi about twenty six million bucks in today's money, but he was having none of it. The Brits were also blamed, of course, they'd only been fighting the French for the good part of a thousand years. But no, it wasn't them. Then, when a man named Joseph Jerry Perry walked into the Paris Journal and told the reporters that he was an art thief and he knew where the Mona Lisa Waas, the authorities suddenly started grinning like the woman in the painting. One thing led to another, and the gendarmes were knocking at the door of a young Pablo Picasso. He actually was a thief, but he hadn't taken the painting. The cops found two statues that both had stamps on them, saying, Property of theme use a deluge. Weeks past months passed, and still the French authorities thought that the Spanish rat Picasso had taken the painting. They had no idea that it was sitting in a trunk that belonged to some poor Italian handyman and decorator, a man that would shock the world, shocked the courts and win the hearts of his countrymen. Down on his luck in without much cash, Peru, you finally decided that he would get rid of the painting and he got in touch with Alfredo. Jerry, the owner of an art gallery in Florence, will call him Jerry the Trader. At this point in time, the French authorities had pretty much accepted that they wouldn't be getting the painting back. Investigators had no leads and could Onley stare with frustration at an old door knob? They've done everything, literally search the bags of France and beyond. They've shown hundreds of photos of past and present museum employees to that plumber, but he picked none of them out. They'd worked with law enforcement in the U. S. Japan, the UK, Italy, Germany, Poland, Russia, Brazil, Argentina and Peru. Nothing, November nineteen thirteen, afraid of Jerry wakes up in the morning and collects his mail. There's a letter signed off by someone named Lenard. The letter states that he is in possession of the great Mona Lisa. It says that he wants to return the painting to its native country, Italy. And while he won't ask for a specific payment being poor and all, he would be grateful if he were compensated for bringing the Mona Lisa home. The return address was a post office box in Paris. Jerry didn't believe a word of it. of course, but he still went to the director of Florence's, who fits a gallery and told him about the letter. His name was Giovanni Poggi. Poggi had a collection of photos of the Mona Lisa, and some of them showed markings on the back of the panel. If the writer of the letter was telling the truth, the painting he had would have those markings. Jerry always thought he was being led on a merry dance, trolled by some dude with too much time on his hands. But then some months later, he received another letter in that the writer said he was in Italy. And would Jerry like to see the world's most famous painting? Soon, the mysterious lanyard was in his gallery office. He wore a fastidiously groomed mustache, a smart suit, and he described the Mona Lisa and those markings on the back. The man said he only wanted a reward, not the millions, that the painting was worth five hundred thousand lire, said Leonardo. That's about two point six million in today's cash. But let's remember that the painting was actually worth closer to one hundred thirty million in today's money. Jerry held out his hand and said That's fine. That's not too high. The next day, Mr Perugia, masquerading as Leonardo, took Jerry and Poggi to the Hotel Tripoli, Italian in Florence. He took them to a room on the third floor, closed the curtains and pulled a white wooden trunk from under the bed. It was time. It was what the world was waiting for. Fake Leonardi opened the trunk. Jerry was aghast, shocked when what he saw were in his own words. Wretched objects, broken shoes and mangled hat, a pair of pliers, plastering tools, a smoke, some white paint brushes and even a mandolin. Damn lanyard wasn't done, though. He emptied the trunk and then opened a secret compartment. Jerry's eyes sparkled. He almost wet in front of him. Was the Mona Lisa marvelously preserved. He and Poggi meticulously checked it for its authenticity. It was the real deal, No doubt about it. The three men almost didn't make it out of the hotel when the concierge pulled him up and asked him what they were carrying. Were they stealing artwork from the hotel? They were OK, and they showed him credential stating that they were art gallery directors. The painting was kept at Poaches Gallery, and Peruzzi, a still pretending to be Leonardo, was told that he'd have to contact the Italian government to get his reward. He believed that the two guys were honest and trustworthy. His shook his hand and told him he was a true patriot. An hour or two later, when perusal was lying on his hotel bed, wondering how he'd spend his windfall, there was a knock on the door. It was the cops. Or, as they say in Italy, the Carbonetti. The love was informed, but the tail didn't ring true. Some wretch just walked out with the Mona Lisa. No way. The next day they issued a statement to the media. The curator of the loop wished to say nothing until they've seen the painting. After some diplomatic chit chat on the phone, it was agreed that the Mona Lisa would be returned to the loo. Although the masterpieces dear to all Italians is one of the best productions of the genius of their race, we will willingly return it to its foster country, announced the Italian government on January fourth, nineteen fourteen. It was back in the salon carry the poor patriot was behind bars. Miserable and angry, he received another metaphorical kick in the teeth when he heard that Jerry collected thousands of dollars in reward money and was bestowed with France's Legion of Honor. How could this have happened to him? Prison guards reported that he sat all day in a state of deep depression, occasionally weeping at the cold stone walls. Little did he know that he was a hero, not just in Italy, but around the world. He might have been a villain of sorts, but oh boy, did he inspire people, especially the poor, age thirty two. Standing in court, he told all in attendance, including the journalists from all over the world, how he had done it, the judge then asked. But why? Why did you do such a thing? To which Peruzzi replied. All those Italian paintings in the loo, they're all stolen. He was merely bringing one home. National museums what they are, really. They're just the loot Stashes of criminal enterprises, he said he considered taking paintings by Raphael, Correggio, Giorgianni but the Mona Lisa. It was small enough to hide under a smoke. It wasn't about the value, he said, and added I never acted with that in mind. I only desired that the masterpiece would be put back in its place of honor. Here in Florence, the judge fired back. But didn't you try and sell it to the English? Peruzzi denied it, but the fact is, he had earlier said in a statement that he tried to fence it to an Englishman. Whether he did or didn't remains a mystery. A lot of what he said is confusing because he contradicted himself a bunch of times. Did he act alone in the theft was a part of a global conspiracy of thieves and scammers who intended to steal the Mona Lisa so they could make and sell forgeries and sell them to the wealthy. Art collectors who knows perusal was sentenced to one year in fifteen days. When asked by a reporter how he felt about that, he replied, It could have been worse. He was out in seven months. Crowds of cheering people were there to greet him. He was front page news for a while anyway. The Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria had just been assassinated. World War one was just around the corner. Human blood would cover the canvas of a continent old, present and budding empires Thieves of land in life would relegate proved a small crime to the annals of for gotten history. He died in France heart attack aged forty four. No one talked about it. Now you need to watch how the biggest diamond vault heist of the century happened or airplane heist thief who hijacked the plane in stole a million dollars.