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Greek man charged in New York Dali theft pleads guilty

Phivos Istavrioglou pleaded guilty on Tuesday following his arrest in the theft of a work titled 'Cartel de Don Juan Tenorio'

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Under the plea deal, Phivos Istavrioglou avoids additional jail time if he remains incarcerated until his formal sentencing on March 12. He also must pay more than $9,000 in restitution

The CCTV footage of the robbery The CCTV footage of the robbery A Greek man arrested last week admitted to stealing a Salvador Dali painting from a New York City gallery, only to return it in the mail.

Phivos Istavrioglou pleaded guilty on Tuesday following his arrest in the theft of a work titled "Cartel de Don Juan Tenorio."

Prosecutors say the fashion industry publicist walked into the Manhattan gallery in June, put the painting valued at about $150,000 in a shopping bag and walked out. He anonymously mailed the piece back to the United States from Greece after seeing news coverage of the theft.

Istavrioglou can avoid additional jail time if he remains incarcerated until his formal sentencing on March 12.  He also must pay more than $9,000 in restitution.

His lawyer said it was a stupid thing to do.

As reported last week, New York Police Department detectives lifted fingerprints from the shipment that matched one from a juice bottle that they say Istavrioglou shoplifted last year from a wholefoods market. An investigator posing as an art gallery owner later tricked Istavrioglou into returning to New York by offering him a possible position as a consultant.

Federal agents intercepted Istavrioglou at John F. Kennedy International Airport. While speaking to detectives, court papers say, he "indicated he knew the theft would catch up to him and wants to make [the] situation right."

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