Always good advice (or, what not to do when stealing a valuable painting)

There was no one in sight, a guaranteed getaway, and loot worth millions. So it must have seemed all too easy to make off with a high-priced painting from a cargo warehouse at Kennedy International Airport two weeks ago.

Except, the authorities said, for two small details:

1. It was all captured on videotape.

2. The thief apparently left behind a copy of his driver’s license.

Now, all of this is totally misleading for a whole host of reasons, but as far as newspaper articles go, it does make a killer lead-in.

(For those of you who aren’t actually going to read the article to find out what was misleading, let me summarize: the ‘thief’ didn’t premeditate stealing the painting, but took it out of spite, and in the heat the moment; aside from which, he probably didn’t even know what was in the box.)

(NYTimes: “When Taking a Painting, Don’t Leave Your Picture,” by Anahad O’Connor [May 17, 2005])