Greek man charged in NY Dali theft pleads guilty

February 27, 2013 - 12:29 AM

NEW YORK (AP) — A Greek man has 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.

Under the plea deal, 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.

His lawyer said it was a stupid thing to do.