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Scandalous theft of the famous painting "The Scream" by Munch. It was stolen by a football player inspired by The Godfather


On February 12, 1994, the eyes of the whole world were riveted on the Norwegian Lillehammer, a small town where the opening of the Winter Olympic Games took place that day. While the Olympic flame descended from the springboard, and various dancers - witches, ghouls, angels, shepherds - danced in the snow, two men entered the Oslo National Gallery.

Leaning a ladder against the wall, they went upstairs, smashed the window, and headed straight for their target, the painting The Scream by expressionist artist Edvard Munch. After cutting off the painting from the wall, the robbers climbed back out into the street and fled in a car, leaving a note in the gallery hall: "A thousand thanks for the bad security."

Twenty years earlier, in 1974, the film The Godfather 2 was released - the continuation of the gangster saga of Mario Puzo and Francis Ford Coppola. The life of the Italian mafia family made an indelible impression on Paul Anger , a Norwegian youth who studied at the Valerengi academy. He was so obsessed with the Corleone family that at the age of 15 he flew with a friend to New York to see the places where Marlon Brando, Al Pacino and Robert De Niro played gangsters.

alpacino.jpg Al Pacino, The Godfather

Meanwhile, Anger's comrades at Valerenga wondered: where did the 15-year-old teenager get the money to travel to the USA?

By a strange coincidence, Paul, who grew up in one of the poorest areas of Oslo, never had a lack of money. At one time, a young footballer drove an expensive Porsche to training. “There was only one Porsche in the city - mine,” Anger liked to brag. “And on Sundays, people from the wealthy part of Oslo would come to my area to see how I was washing my car.” "Zenith" will be able to pass "Betis"? Make a bet Paul also made a habit of throwing away his tracksuit after training. While his comrades carefully packed their clothes to wash at home, Anger said he would just buy himself new ones.

“I remember one day he drove a BMW 735i,” says former Valerenga player Vidar Davidsen. We had no doubts: he liked to steal expensive cars. He was only 18 years old, we understood that he could not buy such a car. We told him, "If you steal anything from the locker room, you're done." But to be honest, he didn't steal anything from us. He wasn't a troublemaker on the team, not at all."

In 1988, Paul came to the attention of the police. Law enforcement officers visited his home and during a search found on the wall "Love and Pain" - the famous painting by Edvard Munch, one of his true masterpieces. An image of a red-haired woman hugging a depressed-looking man hung quietly in Anger's room. A few months earlier, “Love and Pain” (another name for the canvas is “Vampire”) was stolen from the Munch Museum.


"Love and pain", Edvard Munch

After the painting was returned to the museum, Anger was sentenced to four years in prison.

“Paul was always a dreamer,” says one of his former comrades. I don't think he wanted to be famous personally. Maybe he just wanted to show the world how easy it is to break a window and take out a famous painting.” ###

When The Scream disappeared from the National Gallery, the Norwegian police panicked. The prospect of forever losing the most famous version of the most famous picture of the world frightened even the thick-skinned constables. The Norwegians turned to the British for help, and Charles Hill, a detective from Scotland Yard, specializing in art and antiques, left for Oslo.

Without waiting for Hill to arrive, a group of Norwegian anti-abortion activists promised to return the Scream safe and sound - provided their propaganda video was shown on television. Naturally, the activists did not have any picture with them.

Britain's Mr. Carrot devised a plan: put on glasses, grow a beard, and arrive in Oslo disguised as "a quirky art dealer with a mid-Atlantic accent." For added persuasiveness, a cream blazer, a floral print vest and a bow tie were used to complete the portrait of a gallant pedant who makes money on the resale of paintings.

At the same time, Anger (I guess you guessed it, it was he who snuck into the gallery behind the Scream) left an unambiguous message in the Dagbladet newspaper. The ex-player of "Volerenga" bought a place for a small note in which he shared the good news with the readers. The text was supposedly written on behalf of a happy dad who boasted that his son was born 'med et Skrik! ' - "with a shout!"


"Scream", Edvard Munch

They decided to catch the daring criminal with live bait: Hill, with the help of his "representative", and in fact another agent of Scotland Yard, established contacts with a number of intermediaries. The latter claimed that the stolen masterpiece was being sold on the black market and that they knew how to contact the sellers. Feeling that the fish had taken the bait, Hill offered £500,000 for the painting.

“Thieves who steal works of art are infected with the same disease,” said the detective. “These people are insane. They may not even like art, but they certainly treat paintings like trophies.”

In the end, after three months of ordeal - working undercover and dealing with intermediaries - Hill came across the suspects themselves. He was taken to a country chalet, where a small hatch was hidden under the carpet. It led to the cellar, where the vanished painting rested, a human figure screaming in desperation against a blood-red sky.

Later it turns out that Anger acted in conjunction with Tveitagiengen, a criminal group that knew that cops were digging under it. The gang wanted the police to be distracted by something else, and contributed to the theft of the painting. The plan worked for five with a plus: while the constables screamed in horror, Tveytagyengen made several successful raids on banks.

For repeated theft of Munch Enger was sentenced to six and a half years in prison. During one of the excursions that Norwegian prisoners are taken on, Paul managed to escape. He was caught 12 days later, wearing a blond wig and sunglasses, trying to buy a ticket to Copenhagen. Behind bars, Anger himself began to paint. In his abstract painting one can guess the influence of Munch.


The Athletic Penger - Enger's signature - in Norwegian means "Money"

“He was forever remembered in Norway as the guy who stole the Scream,” says Vidar Davidsen. “People see him as a criminal, not a footballer. But those who remember him from Valerenga know that he was a promising player. He had the flair of a scorer. He could go far. He had talent, but he didn't have the right attitude."

“I don’t regret what I did,” says Anger himself. — I went down in history, it's cool. Movies are usually made about this. But it wasn't a movie — it was real life."

He really has nothing to regret - during his career he scored at least one incredible screamer.


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