In Brief

Florida Art Thief Drives Stolen Car 1,000 Miles to Ask Obama for Pardon

(screenshot by the author via NBC)
Marc Chagall’s “The Meeting of Ruth and Boaz” (left) and Pablo Picasso’s “Faune Devoilant une Femme” (right) (screenshot by the author via NBC)

Miami resident and confessed art thief Marcus Sanford Patmon was arrested on Wednesday after driving a stolen car some 1,000 miles to Arlington, Virginia, where “he was looking to be pardoned by the Obama administration before the Trump administration came in,” Arlington Police Department spokesperson Ashley Savage told NBC.

In 2009, Patmon pleaded guilty to art theft and attempted wire fraud after trying to offload three stolen Pablo Picasso etchings and a Marc Chagall lithograph collectively valued at over $500,000 through a dealer in California, eventually serving just under two years in prison. He’d stolen the works from galleries in Florida and Washington, DC.

Apparently inspired by Obama’s unprecedented wave of last-minute pardons and commuted sentences, Patmon availed himself of a stranger’s car and drove toward the capital, where “he wanted to meet with Eric Holder,” according to Savage, not realizing that Holder was no longer the attorney general (Loretta Lynch took over from him in April 2015). Instead, he found himself once again in custody.

At the time of his 2009 guilty plea, Patmon allegedly told investigators that he’d originally been inspired to steal and resell stolen art by an episode of Antiques Roadshow. He hoped art fraud would be his ticket back to the lifestyle he’d enjoyed prior to a 2001 assault conviction.

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