One of the most prolific art thieves of late was a French waiter who stole more than $1 billion worth of art from 172 European museums between 1995 and 2001. The Frenchman traveled around Europe as a waiter, stealing 239 works of art and exhibits from around 172 museums, an average of one every 15 days. He also continued the theft, even returning to the museum from previous crimes to steal again.
In later years, he used similar methods for the theft in at least 170 other museums. In November 2001, Breitwieser stole a 16th-century trumpet of which only three were known to exist from the Richard Wagner Museum in Lucerne, but a guard discovered it before he could escape. This bizarre case tells the story of a man who just wanted to see his art in a museum and didn't care whose name it was.
For two days, reporter Erich Eisner was walking his dog on the grounds of the museum when he spotted a man looking out of place in a fine coat while touring the museum. James Oliver, director of the American Museum of Natural History, was having a tooth extracted when a museum employee discovered the theft of the jewels the next morning. Seemingly insatiable, Breitwieser returned to the museum only two days later. A little over an hour later, the thieves made off with an incredible art collection that is now valued at $500 million.