The Art Thief Who Fell in Love With His Biggest Score

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Adam Worth was the Victorian Era’s most infamous thief. He was so sneaky, so devious and so damn good at his job that he became author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s inspiration for Dr. Moriarity, arch-nemesis of Sherlock Holmes.

Worth’s exploits earned him the nickname “The Napoleon of Crime,” a nod to his ceaseless drive to steal anything that wasn’t nailed to the floor. (And even if it was, he’d steal it anyway.) Worth and an array of ne’er-do-wells were as innovative as they were crooked, tunneling their way into bank vaults from adjacent building basements, setting up shape-shifting illegal gambling dens and slipping into new countries and identities when things got too hot.

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Worth was pursued across multiple continents by the Pinkerton detective agency (which would one day become the Secret Service) and he cemented his status as one of the greatest thieves in history when he stole the incredibly famous portrait of Georgiana Cavendish, The Duchess of Devonshire, right off the wall of a London gallery.

Worth held onto the pilfered portrait for years, chauffeuring it around the world in the false bottom of a luggage trunk. Some say he was waiting for the right moment to sell it, others believe he fell in love with the Duchess’s beguiling image and didn’t want to let go.

So what became of the art thief and his prized score? Listen to the episode (embedded above) and please leave our little show a big fat five-star rating and a review. Your comments might be featured in a future episode.

Thanks as always for listening!

About Dirty Money

Dirty Money is a new podcast series from Entrepreneur Media telling the tales of legendary scammers, con artists, and barely-legal lowlifes who stop at nothing to bilk their marks of millions. Hosted by Entrepreneur editors Dan Bova and Jon Small, the podcast takes a deep dive into the deviants behind the deeds.

Related: The Fake Heiress Who Scammed One of the Richest Men in America

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