Whodunit?

By MIKE MILIARD  |  March 18, 2009

MC: Yeah, that was kind of advertised in Topkapi, in that film there. The concept was, I forget what it was they were after, but I think it was a superb diamond in the middle of the museum in Turkey. And of course they had to go through the roof and circumvent all those infrared alarms and then get down in the thing and get up. And to my knowledge, apparently, it's like the Mona Lisa, where that was grabbed one time before, it's now secured behind glass so it would be impossible to access that. It would also be very hard to get anything if in fact the Topkapi museum is as secure as it was in the movie. But as far as other museums go, no. I've robbed other museums, and it was just simply a matter of being brazen enough to adopt a phony ID to get access to the storage areas and then just go down there and by a lock pick know where the things were and just go into the locked area and come back out. I've been in a couple museums and they're still the same. In fact, I dare say, some of the museums never knew they were robbed.

JS: Myles is referring to the fact that he used to pose as an expert — which he was, actually — y'know he made up a whole alias for himself, and he became quite well known among museum staff all over the country. Posing as an expert, he would get access to the archives of various museums. Curators are happy to give collectors access, and Myles had a huge collection of art, some of it that he had bought at auction, that he could show off. He would just go into the archives, and museum archives are so vast, people literally don't notice when things are taken. He'd just slip things into his briefcase.

When you first robbed the Forbes Museum, part of your motivation was class-based, right? They didn't think the son of a cop would have the education or appreciation for fine art, and you wanted to show them . . .

MC: There was a little bit of a personal affront. It actually, although I don't think it's mentioned in the book, and I won't really go into the details, the thing that really kicked it off . . . it wasn't that they had a holier-than-thou attitude toward anyone else, it was that they had made a remark about a friend of mine and they had thought my friend might have been involved in a prior theft of the museum. My friend was highly insulted. He was not involved. And it was that insult there that kicked off my feelings: "Okay, if that's how they want to be, I'll give them a taste of real robbery."

Describe the feeling you first had when you set foot in the Forbes and you realized you had the run of the place.

MC: It's always they same. You have the run of the place, you're surrounded by items of high quality and rarity, and they're simply yours for the taking. You can roam around, no one else is there, you don't have to watch over your back or anything like that, and then you can take whatever you want. And so it's an electrifying rush. It's not unlike going into the candy store as a kid and putting in a dime and suddenly getting a dollar's worth of candy out of the machine.

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