He was an American flautist living in London, studying at the Royal academy of music. At only 20 years of age, he was intelligent, gifted, talented...a prodigy. On the evening of June 24, 2009 he performed at the Academy in “London Soundscapes”...featuring the music of composers such as Joseph Hayden, George Frideric Handel, and Felix Mendelssohn. But his flute wasn’t the only thing he brought with him the evening of his performance. He had with him a relatively large piece of luggage...a rolling suitcase that contained in it the accoutrements of a thief - gloves, a small flashlight, a pair of wire cutters, a glass cutting saw with a diamond blade. After the concert, he retrieved the suitcase from his locker and put his plan in motion...making his way towards the Natural History Museum in the town of Tring. This wasn’t the first time he’d been there, but it would certainly be his last. After months of reconnaissance - investigating, casing, scouting, scrutinizing, studying, evaluating, analyzing, planning - he was confident he would be able to make his way around walls, barbed wire, cameras and guards in order to get what he was there to pilfer...a collection of coveted relics of the past...many of which no longer existing anywhere in world...unique, rare, endangered, extinct...priceless and irreplaceable...all for a hobby that grew into an obsession...and a golden flute.
The Feather Thief: Beauty, Obsession, and the Natural History Heist of the Century by Kirk Wallace Johnson
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