Paris Auction Workers Steal from Dead
35 porters at leading auction house Hotel Drouot were convicted in a French court of pilfering thousands of valuable items from the estates of the deceased.
A group of Paris auction workers realized an essential truth: the dead don’t miss their belongings and they tell no tales. Some 35 porters at leading auction house Hotel Drouot were convicted in a French court of pilfering thousands of valuable items from the estates of the deceased. To add insult to injury, they had been doing so for years and were hardly low-key about it. Not to worry though, they’ll get the chance to think on their crimes while in prison, which is where some are going.
The BBC reports that the porters saw grave-robbing as an occupational perk and were aided and abetted in their twisted ways by three auctioneers, who received suspended jail terms. The defence team called the thefts “salvaging” during the trial. Hotel Drouot itself pleaded ignorance and supported the prosecution. Amazingly, the AFP reports that even though one of the porters owned a Porsche 911 this only aroused suspicion, not action. It took an anonymous tip for authorities to catch one of the porters in possession of a missing painting by 19th century French artist Gustave Courbet. It was curtains for the rest of the crew shortly after.
How did the porters manage these thefts? It was reported at the trial that they took advantage of their roles in clearing out the homes of the dead and transporting items to Hotel Drouot. They sold the items much later.