This morning I was informed that the two paintings that was robbed from the Munch museum, just up the street from where I live, has been returned. If you’re not familiar with Munch’s art, let me just say that a guy that knows nothing about painted art really loves it. I am that guy. You’re probably familiar with Munch’s Scream even without knowing it:
It is one of the most mass-produced images on the planet. Which is kind of fun, since it was exactly what Munch himself wanted. He made black and white copies of it for easy distribution. But he died poor and lonely, or at least poor, and gave all of his work to Oslo municipality in his last will.
In connection to the famous NOKAS robbery, SWAT style, where a Norwegian cop was killed, the Scream and Madonna was robbed. And it turned out it was the same guys behind it. I’d say two paintings worth about 750 million NOK (about 120 million US Dollar) is just about the best hand you can have when trying to cut a deal with the big society. And the 750 mill NOK claim will now be dropped in the robbers’ appeal.
The problem with this is that it arises several ethical considerations to be made. Let’s say I rob a bank but at the same time rob the Mona Lisa, or kidnap five children; are we supposed to bend backwards? And at the same time, a cop was killed, and it’s very likely that the paintings could have been sold to newly rich Russian artlovers – the only feasible market for so well known art.
The NOKAS robbery opened up a new era of crime in Norway, gave it another face, so to speak. There’s no longer any doubt that we have organized crime in this country, lots of it, although I was never one to oppose that observation. The robbary was so clean (except the killing) that people going to work that morning thought it was a military/police training op.
What would be the right thing to do? Give the robbers some space or fuck the deal?